Does The State of Michigan Sell Your Personal Information?

(*Thank you for the many emails. I will read each and every one as soon as possible.)


Did you recently register a vehicle? The State of Michigan is willing to sell your information. The Secretary of State advertises that they will sell both “driving and vehicle records.”

However, there’s a federal law, called the Driver Privacy Protection Act, that says they can’t do that. The DPPA says that a Secretary of State can only sell personal information in limited circumstances.

Upnorthlive says that the State of Michigan has this to say about it:

“The Driver Privacy Protection Act covers the release of personal information contained in driver and vehicle records. Personal information, as defined in MCL 257.40b, is not released without a permissible purpose, MCL 257.307 and 257.208c.”

The Secretary of State references state laws. Yet the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act is a federal law. Here’s the definition of personal information under MCL 27.40b, and here is the federal law definition of personal information of the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act. The list of what counts as personal information is pretty much the same under both state and federal law.

Here is the list of supposedly acceptable purposes for requesting a record. LINK. A legitimate business purpose is not any business activity like the Upnorthlive article implies. Instead, acceptable business activity is law enforcement activity, or to verify a license for employment purposes, for example. The person who requests the record has to state one of the permissible reasons. Wanting to solicit someone to buy an extended warranty is not a permissible purpose.

So is it happening? Where are these businesses getting their information? The SOS? The dealers themselves? That’s the question that consumers need an answer to.

If the SOS is selling consumer information, what’s the remedy? It’s up to the Attorney General to investigate and issue fines against the Secretary of State and the private people making the bad requests, if that’s really what’s happening. Dana Nessel should get to the bottom of it.

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