As reported in earlier Turner Report posts, Emily Roberts, Jefferson City; and Sarah Smith, El Dorado Springs, are suing the Missouri Department of Revenue claiming the department illegally gave personal driver's license information to third parties for commercial purposes.
In an earlier filing in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, the attorney general's office indicated it would challenge the constitutionality of the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA). Today, Acting U. S. Attorney Matt Whitworth asked the court to give him time to respond to the challenge.
In January, Judge Nannette Laughrey denied a motion by defendants to dismiss the lawsuit, which is scheduled to go to trial in October.
In her opinion, Judge Laughrey wrote, "Congress could have included an additional exception in section 2721 (b) to allow business entities to obtain highly restried personal information for the purpose of reselling or redirecting it to others with permissible use. It did not do so."
The class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of Ms. Roberts, Ms. Smith, and others whose privacy may have been violated. Named as defendants in the lawsuit are The Source for Public Data LP, doing business as publicdata.com, Dallas, Texas; Shadowsoft.com, Dallas, Texas; Omar Davis, director, Missouri Department of Revenue; and numerous Department of Revenue employees. Source for Public Data and Shadowsoft have filed countersuits against the plaintiffs.
The initial lawsuit says Public Data and Shadowsoft bought the personal information from the DOR and sold it over the internet:
Prior to February 20, 2008, co-defendant Shadowsoft acquired a large database of
information from Mo. DOR on the pretense that the information would be used only for the legitimate business purpose of verifying the accuracy of information of individuals doing business with Shadowsoft.
The information database acquired by Shadowsoft from Mo. DOR contained “highly restricted personal information”, including social security numbers, belonging to hundreds of thousands of licensed drivers in the State of Missouri.
Upon information and belief, co-defendant Shadowsoft transferred the database in totum to co-defendant PublicData.
PublicData then made the highly restricted personal information belonging to those individuals, unlawfully acquired from Mo. DOR, available for search and sale on its website, www.publicdata.com. In many instances, the information acquired by
Shadowsoft from Mo. DOR and subsequently sold by PublicData on www.publicdata.com, included social security numbers.
The plaintiffs are asking for damages, costs, expenses, and attorneys' fees.