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Lawmakers to Investigate Reports of License Offices Illegally Sharing Personal Info

Lawsuit out of Stoddard County in southeast Missouri alleges that the Department of Revenue is scanning and sharing information with an out-of-state party
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(Photo credit: KSMU)

A Missouri House committee is looking into reports that local driver’s license offices may be violating the confidentiality of the Missourians they serve. KSMU’s Jennifer Davidson has details.

A lawsuit filed in southeast Missouri’s Stoddard County alleges that when a local man, Eric Griffin, went to his local Department of Motor Vehicles fee office to process his concealed carry gun permit, the DMV asked to scan his personal documents. Griffin refused, and was denied the permit, according to the suit. 

Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder supports the lawsuit. According to his website, the data collected in this case was being forwarded to a Georgia-based company that specializes in partnering with state and federal governmental agencies.

Representative Tom Flanigan, a Republican from Jasper County, sits on the House Committee on Government Oversight and Accountability, which is looking into the allegations made in Stoddard County.

“He is alleging that the fee officers asked him for documents to comply with the federal REAL ID Act of 2005.Well, Missouri opted out of that act. We did not pass that.We opted out of that my freshman year, which was 2009,” Flanigan said.

In response to the complaints, Representative Todd Richardson of Poplar Bluff has filed a privacy bill.

“The bill is quite simple: it simply says that the Department of Revenue cannot, in any form, collect personal information and source documents and store them. The bill takes it one step further and says you cannot transmit those source documents to any other source,” Richardson said.

Richardson said the case out of southeast Missouri is not an isolated one.

“There are reports from other parts in the state.The only official action in court that’s been filed is obviously the one in Stoddard County.But I’ve heard from people from a number of parts of the state that are very concerned about their privacy.And they’re reporting that their local fee office has changed the process, and that their documents are being scanned and collected. And they’re concerned about that,” Richardson said.

We tried to reach the Missouri Department of Revenue for comment--it oversees the motor vehicle license offices--but we did not hear back by deadline.

For KSMU news, I’m Jennifer Davidson.

 ANCHOR TAG: That committee is scheduled to meet Monday, March 11, to get to the bottom of the Department of Revenue’s process in collecting and storing personal information.