Pennsylvania DOT Cancels Contract With Information Services Provider

Pennsylvania's Department of Transportation on Thursday canceled its contract with ChoicePoint Services Inc., on evidence that the company ignored rules regarding the privacy of driver records.

As part of its contract with PennDOT, Alpharetta, Ga.-based ChoicePoint, which provides driving records to insurance companies, employers and creditors, agreed to abide by all state and federal privacy laws, and specifically agreed not to distribute any driver records via the Internet. Through a departmental investigation, PennDOT learned that the company offered certain insurance companies Internet access to Pennsylvania driver records, which compromised the security of that data.

"Through an internal, covert operation, we used PennDOT employees as guinea pigs, and using [approved] insurance companies through an Internet connection, we were able to obtain the name, address and driving history of the individuals," said PennDOT spokesman Rick Kirkpatrick. "We had the permission of the employees to try to get their records and we were successful."

In addition to successfully soliciting the private records, PennDOT also found advertisements on the Internet offering Pennsylvania driver records for sale.

Kirkpatrick said the matter is still under investigation, but would not say whether the department is planning any legal action against the company.

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