State agency detects unauthorized access to 3K vehicle records

Published 6:45 pm Saturday, April 28, 2012

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services detected and stopped unauthorized access of motor vehicle records that may affect nearly 3,700 Minnesotans. The illegal access was discovered during a DVS internal audit.

A preliminary investigation by DVS does not indicate data was used for criminal purposes; however, the agency is sending letters to affected individuals about the unauthorized access and to recommend that they consider monitoring their credit reports.

The DVS audit found that an employee at a Minnesota car dealer, who was authorized to access vehicle data to process consumer sales, allegedly provided his system login information to a friend who worked at a vehicle repossession company. That individual, who did not have authorization to access Minnesota vehicle records, either viewed the data or allowed others within the company to view it.

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Unauthorized access of driver and vehicle data is a violation of state and federal law. The findings of the DVS audit have been submitted to law enforcement officials for further investigation and possible criminal charges.

“Protecting private data is a priority for DVS, and we won’t tolerate any illegal or unauthorized access of vehicle records,” Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman said. “We will continue to aggressively monitor and audit the DVS system in order to prevent abuse and address any illegal activity.”

The data that may have been viewed included information that would typically be found on vehicle registrations: vehicle identification numbers; vehicle description; and name, address, and date of birth of the vehicle owners.