Case on scope of DPPA appealed to Supreme Ct.

A Texas case, Taylor v. Acxiom et al. is under appeal to the Supreme Court to clarify opposing rulings in federal courts about the scope of the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (18 U.S.C., Chapter 123, §§ 2721-2725. While the DPPA has specific provisions for law enforcement and private investigators to access the data, the state of Texas has allowed mail order businesses to purchase driving records. The plaintiffs in Taylor argue that neither type of defendant has access to the records.

Lumping the two types together seems a weak position given the specific exceptions of the statute. The crux of the dispute lies in the Taylor court’s determination that an authorized recipient of DMV records is not required to show that it is also an authorized user of the data. “Instead, an authorized recipient is authorized to resell to individuals for one or more of the specific purposes under section 2721 (b),” Judge William L. Garwood wrote on behalf of the 5th Circuit. The interpretation allows for an “authorized recipient to mean something different than one who has a permissible actual use.”

A case going the other direction was in Missouri. In 2008, Judge Nanette K. Laughrey found in Roberts, et al.  v. The Source for Public Data, et al., that defendants did not qualify as “authorized recipients” of DMV records under the DPPA.