RAC Cars News


Parking Firm Leaks Private Driver Information

By raccars Published

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The DVLA has been caught up in an unfortunate breach of data scandal, which has seen nearly 10,000 drivers' private details made public. The leak originated at private parking payment firm, PaymyPCN.net, which claims to have safeguards in place protecting personal data. However, Sky News was able to access the company's computer database containing names and addresses provided by the DVLA.

PaymyPCN.net claims to have been collecting parking fine payments for 20 years and has access to the DVLA's driver database, to allow motorists to pay their fines directly from its website. The firm assures customers that it safeguards personal data by encrypting transaction details, but Sky News found backdoor access to a list of names and addresses of drivers who had used PaymyPCN.net to deal with their parking penalties. This information is only available to police and private parking firms with a special licence.

Sky News also found it could access emails discussing penalty charges appeals processes, details such as dates and locations of penalty charges and photographs of drivers and their cars, taken by enforcement cameras. Almost ten thousand driver records could be seen online or downloaded from PaymyPCN.net. Sky News was able to contact some of the names on the list, who were horrified that their information had been made publicly available. The scandal began when a link to the data was mistakenly sent to a motorist by a private parking firm. Consumer activist, Michael Green, then published a link to the data on Twitter.

Mr Green is already embroiled in a campaign against private parking firms' penalty practices and against the DVLA for selling personal driver data to private parking firms. He claims that DVLA protests of data safeguarding are nothing more than 'media soundbites'. His website, challengethefine.com, works to obtain compensation for those whose data has been breached by private parking firms.

The RAC Foundation has also questioned the legality of private parking penalty charges.

This is not the first time the DVLA has come under fire for carelessness in its distribution of private driver information. Over the last four years, the agency has earned about £22 million from the sale of driver data. In this case, a DVLA spokesperson claimed that the DVLA was not responsible for this error, pointing out that the agency does not provide photographs, phone numbers or emails to private parking firms.

The PaymyPCN.net website went offline after being contacted by Sky News.

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