Howard v. Criminal Information Services

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Law
  • Date Filed: 08-15-2011
  • Case #: 10-35751; 10-35779
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Clifton for the Court; Circuit Judge N. Smith and Senior District Judge E. Korman
  • Full Text Opinion

Bulk purchase of personal information from Department of Motor Vehicle records is not, in and of itself, a violation of the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (“DPPA”), 18. U.S.C. §§ 2721-2725.

The issue on appeal in these consolidated cases is whether the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (“DPPA”) forbids bulk purchasing of driver’s personal information for future use. The purpose of the DPPA is to curtail the improper sale of driver’s information from motor records while at the same time allowing permitted access and use. In order to regulate and enforce this practice the DPPA provides enumerated purposes where driver’s information can be disclosed. One means of enforcement is civil action against any person who knowingly obtains, discloses or uses personal information, from a motor vehicle record, for a purpose not permitted. The plaintiffs did not allege that the end use of the information by the defendants was not permitted. They instead argued that the stockpiling of information for future use is not a permitted purpose. The Court concluded that it was a permitted purpose. The DPPA has neither a requirement on when information can be used nor any requirement that obtained information be used at all. So long as the end use is a permitted purpose, the bulk purchase of the information is also permitted. If Congress had wanted to prohibit the sale of a state’s driver’s record database in bulk, the statue could have, and presumably would have said so. AFFIRMED.

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