The DVLA issues millions of driver’s details to private parking companies each year, raising concerns over data privacy
The UK’s information authority says it is “considering” potential issues around the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) selling driver’s details to third parties, including private parking firms.
The role of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is to uphold information rights in the public interest, helping ensure the enforcement of legislation, including GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).
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Now, concerns have been raised over whether the DVLA selling millions of sets of vehicle keeper records to private parking firms and other third party companies each year could constitute a breach of data privacy.
A spokesperson for the ICO told Auto Express: “We are aware of the issues around the sharing of registered keepers details between the DVLA and private parking companies, and we are currently considering if and how new data protection laws affect this data sharing.
They added: “We will be offering advice and guidance once those issues have been resolved.” Although the ICO is looking into the situation, it has also made clear that no investigation has yet been launched.
The DVLA has been contacted for comment.
Private parking fines up by over a million in 12 months
The number of parking penalty tickets issued by private companies surged by over a million in 12 months.
Private parking companies acquired 6.8 million sets of vehicle keeper records in the 2018-19 financial year, according to RAC Foundation analysis of Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) data, the overwhelming majority of which will have been used to contact drivers who are deemed to have breached parking regulations.
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The DVLA released 5.65 million vehicle keeper records to private parking companies in 2017-18, so the latest figures represent an increase of roughly 16 per cent.
Number of vehicle keeper records issued by DVLA to private parking companies
These companies would have had to pay the DVLA a fee of £2.50 for each vehicle keeper record they received, which means the Government body will have been paid around £17 million from private parking firms in the last financial year.
Private parking companies in the UK have obtained more than 33 million vehicle keeper records in the last 13 years, with more than half of them being acquired in the last three years.
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In 2018-19, ParkingEye obtained 1,852,085 vehicle keeper records – more than any other private parking firm. Second was Euro Car Parks, with 672,359, followed by Ranger Services, which acquired 454,059 records.
The news follows the new Parking (Code of Practice) Act being given Royal Assent in March 2019. The code is designed to make life harder for “dodgy” private parking firms, with companies who breach it being punished by losing the right to request vehicle keeper records from the DVLA.
The code itself is still being written by the Government, with the aid of several motoring groups. Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said the latest figures were a “vindication of the urgent need” of the act to be enforced.
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