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Privacy Crime Government Transportation Your Rights Online

NHTSA Complaint Database Oozes Personal Data 62

Posted by timothy
from the now-that-sounds-jes-disgustin' dept.
EWNiedermeyer writes "Are your name, address, date of birth, driver's license number and Social Security number publicly available online? If you've been involved in an accident, they might be and you would never know. The Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration solicits defect complaints from the public, which are hosted on NHTSA's public database. There are about 792,000 of these complaints currently online, and as the video at the link proves, many of them are improperly redacted. As a result, the most personal information imaginable is available to anyone who takes the time to troll the database. This is a clear violation of the Privacy Act of 1974, and NHTSA needs to shut down the database until it can control the personal data stored there."
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NHTSA Complaint Database Oozes Personal Data

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  • by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot@keirstea d . o rg> on Friday June 04, 2010 @11:06PM (#32466592) Homepage
    Why would the DMV even have your SSN?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 05, 2010 @12:42AM (#32466938)

    Our governments are so caught up in power grabbing that it's ridiculous at this point. Citizenship doesn't have anything to do with one's ability to drive safely. Driver's licenses should be about the latter. By turning the DMV into a checkpoint for citizenship you ensure, not that the DMV is going to catch all the aliens, but that all the aliens are going to avoid the DMV. This guarantees a significant level of unlicensed, uninsured drivers on the streets. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy: Oh nos, all these illegal aliens are driving around crazy and uninsured! We have to catch them any way we can and get rid of them!

  • by Michael Kristopeit (1751814) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @01:49AM (#32467140)
    a couple decades ago they also printed on the stub of the social security card that you should always keep the card with you... then the text changed to you should never keep the card with you. stupid government.
  • by Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @11:07AM (#32468740)

    > Slashdot is the culprit now, for pointing out where the data was to be found.

    Philosophically, most of slashdot is against security through obscurity, so occasionally an article will pop up saying to everyone in the neighborhood "Hey, look everyone! These fifty thousand front doors are open, even though you might not have noticed driving by!"

    I'm not sure whether it's because slashdotters want to incentivize fixing the system or whether they just want to point out how badly it's designed and implemented. (The latter is pointing to an absurdity, the former is sometimes a consequence of the latter, but the latter would also meet other instrumental objectives, such as mockery or intellectual interest.) Probably a combination.

  • by Zancarius (414244) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @12:24PM (#32469110) Homepage Journal

    This guarantees a significant level of unlicensed, uninsured drivers on the streets. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy: Oh nos, all these illegal aliens are driving around crazy and uninsured! We have to catch them any way we can and get rid of them!

    I live in a state (New Mexico) that issues drivers licenses to illegal immigrants. It has no effect on the number of uninsured drivers; in fact, our premiums are generally much higher here than anywhere else precisely because you're more likely to get into an accident with an uninsured driver. We're also a border state.

    I think the rate of uninsured drivers has far more to do with the fact that we're one of the poorest states in the union than it does with whether we issue driver licenses to immigrants or not. That we're a border state means we're more likely to have uninsured immigrants (hint: not surprising). It doesn't mean there's a correlation, so I think your point is moot. Issuing driver licenses to illegals has absolutely no net change on the number of insured drivers. It only guarantees that they're more likely to be licensed (which doesn't really matter if they rear-end you and they're uninsured, because your insurance has to foot the bill anyway, and as a result everyone's premiums keep going up).

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