The DVLA has made nearly £22 million in the past four and a half years by selling the private details of drivers, it has been reported.
According to freedom of information request data, the authority has been selling drivers’ names, addresses and vehicle details to parking enforcement firms, which is used by companies to issue fines.
Over £7m in one year!
Having made £21.7 million in the past 54 months, the income has reportedly been rising year on year. The agency is set to make around £7.3m this year, having made over £4m between April and October alone.
The DVLA sells the details to private firms to enforce the payment of outstanding parking fees from car parks at the likes of hospitals, supermarkets, shopping centres and tourist attractions.
It has been reported that around 31 firms are paying the DVLA for information on drivers with personal details sold for £2.50 each, meaning that they’ve bought the details of nearly 8.7 million drivers.
Apparently, the increase in the DVLA’s income is a result of the ban on clamping on private land and a change in the law which allows companies to pursue motorists for ticket fees.
Drivers and motoring groups have attacked the DVLA and the companies for their conduct, with one group dubbing the action “legalised mugging”.
One of the companies, Parking Eye, which has paid the DVLA over £7m, lost a high-profile legal fight earlier this year after fining a motorist for simply driving around a car park to look for a space.
However, the DVLA has defended itself by denying breach of Data Protection laws and said that it makes no profit from the sales, saying that the companies fund the process, rather than taxpayers.
A statement released by the agency said: “The fees are set to recover the related administrative costs and this means that it is the applicant and not the taxpayer who funds this activity.
“If it is alleged that the terms of the contract are breached, it is considered reasonable that vehicle keeper details may be released in order to enable the landowner or his agent the opportunity to pursue their legal rights.
“If this were not the case, motorists would be able to park with disregard for the law or the rights of landowners, with no prospect of being held to account for their actions.”
The DVLA also stressed that it has a set of strict criteria that companies must meet, including valid Data Protection registrations, probation periods and audits to monitor behaviour and use of data.
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