Friday, January 16, 2009

A dollar ain't a dollar any more

It would be bizarre, except we have the local example of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry (over £182 million at the last look, and still nothing on paper to show for it).

The great State of Florida tried to make a buck by selling the personal details from driving licences to marketing firms: actually, it was worth $27M a year to the State revenues.

It was a pretty comprehensive deal: the State was selling the driver's photograph, Social Security number, driver ID number, name, address, phone number and medical condition.

In 1999 Congress barred such arrangements, through the Drivers' Privacy Protection Act, unless the individual driver gave consent. The great State of Florida barrelled along regardless, until a State law of 2004.

Lawyers brought a four test cases to court. A settlement was agreed last August, but needed financial approval from the legislature. This week, it came before the State Senate Transportation Committee.

So here's the tally, subject to final confirmation:
  • $3,000 to each of the four test-case complainants;
  • $1 each to each Florida driver, when the next year's renewal comes up;
  • $2,850,000 to the five law firms involved.
The total cost to the great State of Florida will be around $10.4 million.

The State faces a total deficit next year of a mere $3.5 billion. Sphere: Related Content

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