Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Texas DMV, hundreds, mailing errors

An agency that warns Texans not to share personal information with strangers
because of the risks of identity theft mistakenly mailed hundreds of
driver’s licenses to the wrong people. The Texas Department of Public Safety
(DPS) blamed the mixup on a malfunctioning machine that was recently
installed to sort licenses for mailing. Statewide, at least 500 to 600
people who applied for a license renewal or replacement in late March or
early April instead received somebody else’s card, said DPS spokesperson
Tela Mange. A driver’s license contains enough personal information for
thieves to open up a line of credit or a bank account in that name, make
long-distance phone calls or apply for a Social Security card, according to
the Texas attorney general’s office.

(Peter Gregory, writing in the ACM Risks Digest, quotes the Kansas City Star, “Hundreds of Texas driver’s licenses mailed to wrong people.” Use BugMeNot for a login.)

At the same time, Congress has just passed the “Real ID act,” which puts a National ID in place. You won’t be able to get a job, open a bank account, or travel without one. Good to see the folks who will be administering that are on top of things. (See also, “More on Nevada DMV.”)

[Update: See also Freedom is Slavery, which carries a letter from the ACLU’s Barry Steinhardt.]

2 comments on "Texas DMV, hundreds, mailing errors"

  • Nick says:

    The only reason that this is a problem is because the Drivers License is not secure enough on its own to prevent identity theft. Seting standards such as not having a Social Security Number on the license is the point of the RealID act that you so strongly oppose. You can’t complain that Drivers Licenses are not secure and bash legislation trying to solve the problem. Complaining about a problem and a solution only has room for one organization and the ACLU already has a lifetime registration in this area.

  • Adam says:

    yeah, that must be it. If only they took a fax of my drivers license when I got a credit card through the mail, all my problems would be solved.
    Slightly more seriously, REALID will mandate the DMVs collect far more information for them to accidentally disclose than what they have today.

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