Protecting Driver’s License Information Becomes Law

Protecting Driver’s License Information Becomes Law

Del. David Bulova’s legislation (House Bill 1072) to protect personal information on driver’s licenses was enacted into law during the reconvened session of the General Assembly on April 23. The new law, which will be effective on July 1, limits the ability of a business to electronically scan the bar code on a driver’s license and then store and use that data. State Sen. David Marsden (D-37) carried the companion legislation (Senate Bill 40), which has also been enacted into law.

Many retailers have begun to electronically scan the bar code of a driver’s license to verify age or identity. By doing so, the retailer is given access to all of the information that is contained on the card. This includes the holder’s name, address, date of birth, DMV customer number, height, gender, and whether the holder is an organ donor or has any license restrictions.

House Bill 1072 ensures that the personal information that is contained on a driver's license can only be used for very specific purposes and that the merchant cannot store or disseminate the information to a third party unless it is for one of the reasons in the bill.

"Once your personal information is stored in someone else’s database, you lose control over what happens to that data. The recent problems with Target and the release of credit card information is a reminder of that fact," said Bulova (D-37). "Most people would have a real problem with a business that insisted that it needed to photocopy your driver’s license, without any restrictions whatsoever, when checking your license to establish age or identity. Today, scanning technology allows a business to collect personal information on literally thousands of customers. That information can then be used for something that has absolutely no relationship to why it was collected in the first place."

Bulova added, "This is an opportunity to protect Virginians before the practice of driver’s license scanning becomes a widespread problem. I am grateful that my colleagues in the General Assembly had the foresight to pass this bill before widespread problems occurred."