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Putting it plainly, the DVLA lies

[9 Feb 2013] It’s the little lies that reveal the biggest truths. For more than a year the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has been telling motorists that their names and addresses will be released to private-parking companies only after rigorous scrutiny of each request. Here’s what appears under the DVLA website’s heading ‘A balanced approach’:

‘We carefully evaluate every request for information and look to strike a balance between the individual’s right to privacy and fair enforcement. Unauthorised parking on private land is a good example in that the release of motorists’ personal data can help resolve a situation often involving both nuisance and economic loss.’ (See http://www.dft.gov.uk/dvla/data/legal.aspx.)

So let’s just repeat those first few words: ‘We carefully evaluate every request for information.’ This is designed to conjure up a vision of civil servants poring over each application and weighing up the pros and cons before finally deciding whether or not to release the data.

Yet the plain fact is that the DVLA uses an electronic link to automatically release motorists’ names and addresses to firms that are members of the British Parking Association  without any such ‘careful evaluation’. The DVLA has released nearly two million such data files in the last 12 months and has never refused a single electronic request. Electronic applications are not evaluated in any way whatsoever.

The DVLA knows its website is telling this lie, perfectly crafted to deceive any motorists who look to the government agency's website to tell them the truth about data release. The DVLA is in business partnership with the British Parking Association, a members’ club, and takes £2.50 from parking firms for every request they make. This arrangement fuels the parking firms’ continuing plunder of motorists, whom they chase for about £160million in phony (ie, non-official) fines every year – as we’ve reported before.

We’ve repeatedly asked the DVLA to remove the false statement from its website, but it refuses to do so. We neither know why the DVLA tells this lie, nor why it won’t stop itself.

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