The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) announced on November 5, 2019, that it inadvertently had allowed the Social Security numbers of 3,200 California drivers to be accessed by unauthorized individuals in other state and federal agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service, the Small Business Administration, and the district attorneys’ offices in Santa Clara and San Diego counties.
According to a news report, the access included the full Social Security numbers of individuals who were being investigated for criminal activity or compliance with tax laws. Apparently, the access also allowed investigators to see which drivers didn’t possess Social Security numbers, which has given immigration advocates concern.
The DMV stated that the incident was not a hack, but rather, an error, and the unauthorized access was terminated when it was discovered on August 2, 2019. Nonetheless, the DMV notified the 3,200 drivers of the incident and the exposure of their personal information. The DMV issued a statement that it has “taken additional steps to correct this error, protect this information and reaffirm our serious commitment to protect the privacy rights of all license holders.”