Privacy and Security

DMV Privacy Policy

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is committed to promoting and protecting the privacy rights of individuals as enumerated in Article 1 of the California Constitution, the Information Practices Act of 1977, and other state and federal laws.

It is the policy of DMV to limit the collection of personal information and to safeguard the privacy of personal information collected or maintained by DMV. DMV’s information management practices are governed by the requirements of the:

  • Information Practices Act (Civil Code §1798 et seq.)
  • Public Records Act (Government Code §6250 et seq.)
  • Government Code §§11015.5 and 11019.9
  • Driver’s Privacy Protection Act, 18 U.S.C. §§2721-2725
  • California Vehicle Code (CVC) §1800 et seq.
  • Article 5 (commencing at §350.02) of Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations and other applicable laws pertaining to information privacy

Principles in Collecting and Managing Information

  • DMV collects personal information on individuals only as allowed by law. DMV limits the collection of personal information to what is relevant and necessary to accomplish the lawful purpose of the DMV. For example, DMV needs to know someone’s name, address, birthdate, and social security number, among other things, to properly identify the person before issuing a driver license or identification (DL/ID) card.

Under the Information Practices Act, “personal information” is information that “identifies or describes an individual, including, but not limited to, their name, social security number, physical description, home address, home telephone number, education, financial matters, and medical or employment history.” Under the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act, “personal information” is information that identifies an individual, including an individual’s photograph, social security number, driver identification number, name, address (but not the 5-digit zip code), telephone number, and medical or disability information. Information regarding official government actions relating to a person’s driving privilege, such as records of convictions, driving violations, accidents, driver’s status, driver license suspensions, and revocations of the driving privilege, are open to public inspection under CVC §1808 and are not a driver’s “personal information.” DMV only collects the personal information that is appropriate for the type of service requested such as issuance of a driver license, vehicle registration, or an occupational license. 

  • DMV does not collect home, business or e-mail addresses, or account information from persons who simply browse our Internet website. The information DMV automatically collects includes your domain name or Internet Protocol (IP) address, the type of browser and operating system you used, date and time you visited the site, web pages you visited and any forms you downloaded or submitted. This information is collected for customer service and audit purposes. This information is deleted after 30 days. This information is exempt from requests made under the Public Records Act.  

DMV collects personal information through our website only if that individual provides such information to the DMV through forms or driver license or vehicle record update requests.

  • DMV strives in each instance to tell people who provide personal information to DMV the purpose for which the information is collected. DMV tells persons who are asked to provide personal information about the general uses that DMV will make of that information. DMV does this at the time of collection. At the time of collection, DMV will provide information on the authority under which the request is made, the principal uses DMV makes of the information, and the possible disclosures DMV is obligated to make to other government agencies and to the public. 
  • DMV tells people who provide personal information about their opportunity to review that information in the DMV’s records. If you would like to see your information, make an Information Practices Act (IPA) record Inquiry.

You may also request a public driver’s record and/or vehicle record information.

  • DMV uses personal information only for the specified purposes, or purposes consistent with those purposes, unless DMV gets the consent of the subject of the information, or unless authorized by law or regulation. The following CVCs allow the release of information collected by DMV:
    • CVC §§1810 and 1810.2 allow government and commercial requesters who have been issued a requester code by DMV to obtain the public driver record or vehicle record for a governmental or legitimate business use without notifying you.
    • CVC §§1808 and 1810 allow any person or entity to obtain the public driver record or vehicle record for a permissible use by filling out the Request for Driver License/Identification Card Information, the Request for Vehicle/Vessel Registration Information, or the Request for Record Information form (INF 70D/70R/70) and submitting the appropriate fee (provided on the form) for each request. If DMV provides information pursuant to a request for information submitted on forms INF 70D, INF 70R, or INF 70, CVC §1810 (b) requires DMV to notify the person whose record was requested.

All records of DMV, relating to the physical or mental condition of any person, are confidential and not open to public inspection.CVC §1808.5

In addition, the Public Records Act exists to ensure that government is open and that the public has a right to have access to appropriate records and information possessed by state government. At the same time, there are exceptions in both state and federal law to the public’s right to access public records.

Furthermore, there are some legal processes, such as a subpoena, that may require the DMV to disclose DMV records that contain personal information.

  • DMV uses information security safeguards. DMV takes reasonable precautions to protect the personal information on individuals collected or maintained by the DMV against loss, unauthorized access, use, modification, or disclosure. DMV has security measures in place to protect against loss, unauthorized access, use, modification or disclosure of the information under its control. Information that is physically located within the DMV is protected by various security measures which may include the following:
    • On our websites, DMV uses encryption software to protect the security of individuals’ personal information during transmission of such information throughout DMV’s websites. Personal information is stored in secure locations. Our staff is trained on procedures for the management and release of personal information, and access to personal information is limited to those staff whose work requires it. Confidential information is destroyed according to DMV’s records retention schedule. DMV conducts periodic audits to ensure that proper information management policies and procedures are being followed. 
  • DMV may be able to provide additional information on our privacy policy if requested. If you have further questions, comments, or complaints about the DMV’s privacy policy or policy compliance, you may contact us at:

Department of Motor Vehicles
ATTN: Chief Privacy Officer – MS F127
PO Box 932328
Sacramento, CA 94232-3280
PH# (916) 657-6340

Please note that questions unrelated to DMV’s privacy policy may not receive a response. This policy is effective September 20, 2021 and reflects DMV’s current business practices. 

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