National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

Misuse of Minnesota drivers’ records is relatively common


Police and other public employees in Minnesota have routinely abused their access to the massive state drivers' license database, looking up personal information on citizens thousands of times for their own purposes, records show.

In the last two years, audits have revealed that about 160 individuals, mostly in government agencies, have improperly used Minnesota's Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) database. Protected under state and federal law, it contains photographs, addresses, driving records, physical descriptions and other details about most Minnesotans.

The database recently drew public attention when a former police officer, in an ongoing civil suit, named more than 140 officers that she has accused of inappropriately accessing her data, in many cases to see her driver's license photo.