Jonathan Werran 10 December 2012

Half of local authorities accused of 'abusing' DVLA database

Nearly half of local authorities have been banned from using the Drive and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s (DVLA) database in the last three years, privacy campaigners has revealed.

A total of 294 public sector organisations have been suspended from accessing the national database, containing details of car registrations and driving licences, according to DVLA disclosures, released under Freedom of Information Act powers to Big Brother Watch.

Councils were involved in the overwhelming majority of cases, the research shows, but other parts of the public sector including Transport for London and Sussex Police were also involved.

In some cases, councils asked other council to make enquiries on their behalf without revealing this was the case, but many of the abuses were because of failure to respond to letters from the DVLA or return contracts in time.

In total 38 organisations, including major local authorities including Brighton and Hove, Camden LBC and Southwark LBC were permanently banned from using the DVLA database.

Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, said: ‘Concerns about the DVLA database have been voiced for several years, but it is remarkable that in just three years nearly half the country’s councils have been suspended from looking at motorists’ information.

‘It is essential members of the public know why their local council, or any other body, has faced sanctions and equally the DVLA must do far more to ensure that its data is not so wide open to abuse.’

 
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