Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Class action suit against Department of Revenue certified

It is official. Thanks to an order issued by U. S. District Court Judge Nanette Laughrey Tuesday, a lawsuit against the Missouri Department of Revenue, the Source for Public Data, and Shawdowsoft has been certified as a class action.

In the lawsuit, filed by Emily Roberts, Jefferson City, and Sarah Smith, El Dorado Springs, the issue is whether the Department of Revenue's decision to sell drivers' personal information to the two companies violates the Drivers' Privacy Protection Act.

The 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, Dallas, Texas;, Dallas, Texas; Omar Davis, director, Missouri Department of Revenue; and "Does 1 through 10. The "Does" are described in the petition as employees of the Department of Revenue who went along with these alleged actions.

The 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, In many instances, the information acquired by Shadowsoft from Mo. DOR and subsequently sold by PublicData on, included social security numbers."

The plaintiffs are asking for damages, costs, expenses, and attorneys' fees.

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