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I-Team: Texas Bill Would Limit Sale Of Your Personal Information By DMV And DPS

AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) - Every time you register your vehicle or renew your driver's license, the state of Texas takes your personal information and sells it.

The Texas Senate passed a bill that would limit who could buy the personal information and how the information could be used.

"We have a responsibility as members of the legislature in the state to protect people's private information, not profit from it, but protected it," said State Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville), who authored Senate Bill 15.

In a 2020 CBS 11 News investigation, the I-Team found the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles made more than $3 million in 2019 selling drivers' personal information.

The information sold included drivers' names, physical addresses, phone numbers, emails and vehicle identification information.

The Texas DMV sold the information to more than 2,700 government agencies and private companies, according to DMV records.

The privacy bill passed by the state Senate would also apply to personal information sold by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Texas DPS sells personal information collected from driver's licenses.

The bill would still allow some personal information to be sold for specific authorized uses.

Texas cities could still buy DMV data to help track down parking violators. Likewise, tow companies could still purchase the information to notify owners of a vehicle impoundment. Car dealerships, insurance companies, banks and other companies could also buy select information to verify vehicle ownership.

But, if the bill passes, any businesses that uses your information to try and sell you something or resells your information could face up to $100,000 fine for every record that was misused.

According the legislative budget board, the proposed change in the law would cost the state more than $68 million a year in lost revenue.

Nichols said he believes that projected lost is not accurate but added, regardless of the loss in money, he believes the state should not be putting your privacy up for sale.

Senate Bill 15 is now in the hands of the Texas House where this week the bill was referred to the transportation committee.

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