For Sale By The
Your Private File
By Jeff Harder - Queens Park Bureau

TORONTO - Your drivers licence may be in your wallet, but its contents are available to the world.
The Ontario government sells that personal information, including home addresses and phone numbers -- and the Canadian Automobile Association is calling on it to halt the practice.
CAA spokesman David Leonhardt is worried that wide distribution could put sensitive information into dangerous hands.
"Stalkers, that sort of thing," he said. "This practice leaves people open to possible harassment. It allows potentially hazardous results."
The CAA has taken its concerns to Ontario's freedom of information and privacy commission.
"We have talked to them about it," Leonhardt said. "We discussed our concerns."
The commission is taking a close look at the situation, spokesman Bob Spence said.
"We have been talking to the (ministry) regarding monitoring of their clients. We have a meeting next week," he said.
But ministry official Bob Nichols said the province works within privacy legislation, and is careful about who it does business with.
"We take the protection of personal information very seriously," he said.
"There are legitimate business needs for information. If a company meets those legitimate business needs, we enter into a contract. If we find a breach, we can void and cancel the contracts," Nichols said.
Under the Authorized Requests Program, those businesses include collection agents, insurance companies, private investigators and law enforcement bodies. The transportation ministry raises $1 billion in total revenues, $861 million of which comes from the licencing offices.
"It (information sales) is a relatively small percentage of overall revenue," Nichols said.


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