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California DMV improperly released Social Security data

Information on about 3,200 people was inappropriately sent to seven government agencies over the last four years, the California DMV says.

The California DMV improperly allowed seven government agencies to receive Social Security data.
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

The California Department of Motor Vehicles acknowledged Tuesday that it improperly sent Social Security data to seven government agencies over the last four years. This release affects around 3,200 people, The Los Angeles Times reported. 

"Protection of personal information is important to the DMV, and we have taken additional steps to correct this error, protect this information and reaffirm our serious commitment to protect the privacy rights of all license holders," Anita Gore, deputy director of communications at the California DMV, said in an emailed statement.

She added the DMV "immediately began correcting the access error." It will now require sign-off and review by DMV's chief legal counsel whenever any Social Security information is sought.

According to the Sacramento Bee, there were seven agencies receiving the data: Department of Homeland Security, Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration's Office of Inspector General, Small Business Administration's Office of Inspector General, California Office of Health and Human Services, San Diego County District Attorney's Office and Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office. 

No other information was accessed, and there was no hacking or other sharing of information, the DMV said.

The DMV sent a letter to all people affected by the breach.

"DMV improperly allowed a small number of government agencies, including the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General, access to Social Security number information due to a misinterpretation of federal law," the letter states.

The letter informs those affected which agency received their information and recommends they contact credit reporting agencies Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

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