The DVLA sells your data

driving licencePA

The DVLA is surely far too responsible to sell your personal details on to someone else. You trust them with the kind of thing that would make it incredibly easy to steal your identity because they are fine, upstanding, pillars of society.

Except they are selling your details on for £2.50 a time. So who are they exposing you to?

Clamping companies

Many of the recipients of your vital details are clamping companies. Simon Tse, Chief Executive of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, has reported to the government that the DVLA has handed over 1.2 million pieces of information to private parking companies in the last year alone. It is part of a data sales process that earned the DVLA £8.5 million last year (which is says simply covers the cost of providing this information).

Once the clamping firm has your details they can then send you a parking fine, and they are free to threaten you with the bailiffs if you don't pay the charges.

Risky business?

And while there are clearly lots of perfectly legitimate businesses carrying out their services in a lawful and respectful way, there are also some companies pushing things to the edge. Labour MP Graham Stringer said: "Some of these parking companies are pretty close to the edge of legality. Some are pretty dodgy characters." It begs the question of whether these companies really need to know where you live - so they can pepper you with aggressive demands, sometimes for very large sums of cash.

This is something Tse denies, saying that it only gives information to those parking companies that have been approved by the British Parking Association - which is responsible for ensuring they abide by a code of conduct.

Is this right?

There are plenty of people thoroughly upset by the revelations. Those who have ever been subjected to bullying tactics by rogue clampers are horrified by the idea that it might be possible for these people to discover where they live.

Others feel it is immoral for details to be handed over when they have been provided in good faith - especially because we have no choice but to disclose our information to this organisation. If we want to drive we have to open ourselves up to the risk of having our details passed on.

However, there are others who argue that those who park considerately have nothing to fear. They say that parking on private land and against the rules of the company operating in the area is no less of a no-no than parking illegally on the road. If you do it, you should expect parking companies to be given the ability to pursue you for payment of a fine.

So what do you think? Let us know in the comments.

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