It's illegal to look up picketer's license plates?

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Don Carlo
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It's illegal to look up picketer's license plates?

Post by Don Carlo » Wed May 07, 2008 5:36 pm

The federal code has no loophole for CoS private eyes, in my non-lawyerly opinion.
The Federal code, Section 2721, simplified:
(a) In General.— A State department of motor vehicles, and any ...employee, shall not knowingly any person or entity:
...personal information... in connection with a motor vehicle record, except...:
(1) For use by any government carrying out its functions
(2) For use...with matters of motor and theft; emissions...
(3) For a legitimate business or its agents... but verify submitted by the individual to the business..., and ...for the purposes of preventing fraud...or...pursuing legal remedies against...
(4) For use...with any...proceeding in any Federal, State, or local court or agency...
(5) For use in long as the personal information is not ...used to contact individuals.
(6) For use by any insurer...with claims investigation activities...
(7) For... providing notice to the owners of towed or impounded vehicles.
(8) For use by any licensed private investigative agency or licensed security service for any purpose permitted under this subsection.
(9) For use by an employer or its agent or insurer to obtain or verify ...a commercial driver’s license...
(10) For... private toll transportation facilities.
(11) For any other use...if the State has obtained...consent of the person to whom such personal information pertains.
(12) For bulk distribution for surveys...if the State has obtained...consent of the person to whom such personal information pertains.
(13) ...any use...if the requester demonstrates it has obtained the written consent of the individual to whom the information pertains.
(14) For any other use specifically authorized under the law of the State ... if such use is related to operation of a motor vehicle...

U.S. Code, TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 123 > § 2721. Prohibition on release and use of certain personal information from State motor vehicle records ... -000-.html

My comment: I wonder how CoS is getting these license plate numbers. Before the May 10 protest, in cities where picketers have been followed back to their car, someone should go to the headquarters of their State Department of Motor Vehicles and ask if someone is directly requesting the license plate info to get names and addresses. If nobody is directly requesting this, then CoS has a mole within the department, and the department needs to investigate this. A secure database should show all the data requests made, so that the State could see that DMV Employee XX made the request for picketer YY, on a date right after YY was followed to his car. If CoS claims that they found addresses by tailing YY's car home, looking on the database for data requests could show that DMV Employee XX has indeed committed a criminal act.
Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles website at and their privacy rules are at
On this page, they say Massachusetts follows the Federal code, Section 2721, quoted above.
Their FAQ is great:
What if an individual misrepresents to the RMV the reason(s) for requesting and attempting to obtain personal information?
The individual(s) will be subject to criminal fines and civil liabilities for knowingly violating the provisions and requirements of the DPPA. It is unlawful for any individual to knowingly obtain personal information for a use not allowed by the DPPA, or to make any false representations to obtain personal information. 18 U.S.C. §2721, et seq.
Massachusetts "contact us" page is at
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles at has the privacy law at
contact: Office of the Executive Director at

California Department of Motor Vehicles at
License plate privacy discussed at
DMV and Your Information at
On that page, California also says they follow the Federal code, section 2721, as described above.
"Contact us" page for California DMV is

NEW YORK Department of Motor Vehicles home page is
Privacy info at and at
That page has a DPPA link to a photo of the Federal code, good old section 2721.
"Contact us" page at

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Peter Schilte
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Post by Peter Schilte » Wed May 07, 2008 6:47 pm

And if there was someone asking for the information, I am sure they will have to give their name and address, maybe occupation too.
I think it is fair that this information is given to the holder of the license plate.

- L. Ron Hubbard

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Post by Sponge » Wed May 07, 2008 8:34 pm

In the UK, the nearest you can legally do is this:-
but our Data Protection laws prevent the vehicle's owner details showing up on such a check.

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Post by butwehave11 » Wed May 07, 2008 9:49 pm

click here

you can use several websites to do it for you, I looked up a short article for you guys, click above to see it.
I fart in your general direction!

Don Carlo
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Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2005 6:20 am

Post by Don Carlo » Thu May 08, 2008 12:37 am

Websites searching license plates are breaking the law, unless they are doing it for legitimate users like tow truck operators. If the website is doing it illegally, CoS is conspiring with them to break the law.

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Re: It's illegal to look up picketer's license plates?

Post by morgan01 » Wed Jun 07, 2017 8:31 am

Also, if there was somebody requesting the data, I am certain they should give their name and address, perhaps occupation as well.

I think it is reasonable that this data is given to the holder of the tag.

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