Sunday, September 09, 2007

Tribune: Representatives at odds over license renewal ads

Jason Rosenbaum in the Columbia Tribune reports on the debate between representatives Jeff Harris, D-Columbia, and Ed Robb, R-Columbia, over the placement of Toyota advertising in license renewal forms.
Harris says the advertisements should be for vehicles made in Missouri, while Robb says those companies had the opportunity to advertise but did not take advantage of it.

Not mentioned by either of the representatives is the issue of whether Missourians should be receiving any advertising at all with their license fee renewal notices. As I noted in the June 5 Turner Report, the practice is the subject of a lawsuit that has been filed in federal court, which opened like this:

In documents filed May 16 in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Missouri Director of Revenue Trish Vincent denied violating drivers' privacy rights by allowing a marketing firm to include advertisements in driver's license renewal notices.

By making the decision to include advertising, the state saved more than half a million dollars, according to an April 3 Associated Press article:

Missouri residents Michele Poynter and Jan Bradstreet filed a lawsuit in federal court in Kansas City last month alleging that providing their information to the company violates a federal law protecting drivers' data.

“Defendants' disclosure of plaintiffs' personal information constitutes an invasion of privacy that violates the (federal law),” according to the lawsuit filed by Kansas City attorney Douglas Gentile.

The lawsuit says the Driver's Privacy Protection Act forbids disclosing personal information in motor vehicle records for “surveys, marketing materials or solicitations” without first obtaining people's consent.

The lawsuit seeks class-action status and damages of $2,500 per person whose information was improperly provided - in a state the lawsuit estimates has more than 2 million drivers.

The Revenue Department said Monday that advertisers have no access to Missourians' information, and that details the company gets are not considered private under the federal law.

The company gets a person's name, address and vehicle registration details, but not a Social Security number, age or other personal information, Revenue Department spokeswoman Maura Browning said.

Even if our state government is not releasing personal information to these companies, I still have a serious problem with the idea of offering these companies access through official government documents. What else will we sell in order to bring a few more bucks into the treasury?


Anonymous said...

I don't think I like this at all. I don't know why we should be hit with advertising every time we turn around. And from the state, no less.

Anonymous said...

What are they going to do when the Missouri Baptists Association and the Catholic Church want to place an ad in the envelope? What about Lillie's house of ill repute? Where does this kind of advertising crap stop.??

Anonymous said...

If you tried getting your information from a legitimate source you might find out that you are way off base in your concerns. Went to the CDT website and found the following from the reporter. However, since you appear to be Turner kool-aid drinkers the facts may not help you.

FROM JASON R. From talking with the folks from DOR, there is a disclaimer concerning the ads.

The disclaimer states, “No state funds were used to produce the advertising that may accompany this notice. The Missouri Department of Revenue does not endorse any company or product, including the sponsors of this registration renewal package. Your privacy is assured. Missouri Department of Revenue guidelines prohibit the use of your personal information for any purpose other than preparing this renewal package.”

The FAQs are outlined that says, “Frequently Asked Questions About the Advertisements”. The FAQs are:

Q. Why do advertisements appear in this package?

A. Private companies advertise in this package so the
enclosed form and guidelines can be provided at
no cost to you or the state of Missouri.

Q. Does the Missouri Department of Revenue
endorse these companies?

A. No. The Missouri Department of Revenue does not
endorse any company or product, including the
advertisers in this registration renewal package.

Q. Does the Missouri Department of Revenue share
my name with these advertisers?

A. No. Your privacy is assured. Missouri Department
of Revenue guidelines prohibit the use of your
personal information for any purpose other than
mailing this registration renewal package.)

Randy said...

Well, Carolyn, you do seem to keep coming back for more, but you seem to be hard to please. I provided the link to the story you mention, so what is your problem. All of the disclaimers in the world do not make a single bit of difference on this story. There are people who have a big problem with having any kind of ads with license renewal forms and have concerns about their personal data, and considering the recent arrests of government workers who were stealing that type of information, it is an understandable concern. And one of those agencies that was compromised was the Missouri Department of Revenue.

Anonymous said...

Well since you asked. The examples you give of employees stealing and selling personal information is unrelated to this issue. The only information released is that required to mail the renewal.

I believe you will be hard pressed to prove that the majority of Missouri taxpayers object to the advertising. Most I have talked to who even noticed the ads did as most of us do, simply throw in the trash.

This is just another mountain out of a molehill posting you are famous for foisting on unsuspecting. You do know enough that there are always those out there who can be easily worked up by making them think the black helicopters are landing in their back yards.

Anonymous said...

I don't like junk mail whether it arrives by itself or whether it is forced on me when it is included in a credit card bill or any other legitimate mail. I don't see why I should have to take the time and effort to throw something in the trash that I didn't ask for or want.

This is just more crassness from the republican party.

Anonymous said...

Got a suggestion for you - send in a check for a few bucks to DOR and ask them to send yours without inserts. As a taxpayer, I mind walking to my trash can a whole lot less than paying taxes for something that doesn't have to cost me anything other than that little effort.

Glad there is a party in power now that does care about saving taxpayer money and not the one who spent every dime they got of it.

Anonymous said...

They aren't saving you any money. They don't give a flying flip about whether they save you or anyone else money or not. Its about finding or inventing ways to get more money for themselves and their corporate buddies. Talk about naive...

Anonymous said...

I can see you are a real intellectual. No substance, no proof, just spew.