The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force on 25 May 2018. The legislation gives individuals more control over how their data is used. One potential consequence of this could be an end to the way that private firms issue parking fines. Currently, the DVLA makes money from selling people’s data to private companies, which then issue fines. The problem with the current system is that we, the owners of that data, haven’t permitted the DVLA to do this.
The data protection debate
Currently, we provide the DVLA with information in order to receive our driving licences and tax our vehicles. Both of these are legal requirements. The DVLA then takes the information it has gathered, such as our address details, and sells it to private parking firms. This practice makes a staggering £1 million per day.
These firms then use this information to track down where we live and send the fines to our home addresses. They also use the information if they go on to pursue the matter through the courts.
Under the GDPR, one of the main justifications for gathering data is that the data subject has provided ‘informed consent’ regarding how that data will be used. It also says that the data will not be used for other purposes without permission. Furthermore, individuals can request that their information be deleted.
(Credit – Maigheach Gheal)
Parking fine increase
Providing this information to private parking fine companies is a lucrative side income for the DVLA. In the second quarter of this financial year alone, it sold some 1.4 million records. Private parking firms used these to pursue drivers for penalties up to £100.
The RAC has warned that it expects the level of parking fines issued to increase significantly over the Christmas period. In fact, according to the RAC’s research, by April 2018 the total number of records sold by the DVLA will be at least 5.6 million. This could easily run to over six million if there is a boom in parking ticket numbers over Christmas. That’s a 21.5% increase on the 2016-17 period, which saw 4.71 million records sold. It’s also a staggering 12-fold increase in the number of tickets issued from 2007-08, when less than half a million details were sold.
Because parking fines are such a profitable business, those involved in it are keen to spot drivers who have overstayed their ticket by even a few minutes. They can then use data they source from the DVLA to track down and fine the vehicle’s owner. Parking companies allow no grace period at the end of your parking period, even at the chaotic Christmas time when checkouts are busier and shopping trips take longer. With the cost of Christmas rising every year, a £100 parking fine is something that few families can afford to weather.
Of those companies cashing in on using DVLA data, Parking Eye was the main culprit during the second quarter of 2017-18. The company requested a total of 466,668 vehicle keeper records, which accounts for one in every three requests made.
Councils cashing in
It’s not just private parking companies that are making money from drivers overstaying their welcome. English councils made a record income from parking fines and charges last financial year, at a staggering £819 million. Figures from the RAC Foundation showed that to be a 10% increase on the previous year’s £744 million.
The 2016-17 financial year total was nearly £37 million more than expected. London boroughs led the way, with Westminster City Council making a profit of over £73 million, a 31% increase on the previous year. Outside London, Brighton and Hove City Council topped the list of earners, with a profit of £21.2 million.
The only positive to this situation is that the extra income does benefit drivers and residents, as it is ploughed back into infrastructure and services for the area – unlike the fines paid to private companies.
Debating the point
According to the DVLA, consent is one of six legal justifications for the valid use of personal data. It remains to be seen how this will be interpreted under the GDPR. Meanwhile, Sir Greg Knight is not letting the issue of parking fines drop. His private member’s bill aimed at dealing with the excesses of parking fines will be debated in the House of Commons in the New Year, as he pushes for a fairer balance between landowners’ and drivers’ rights.
Do you think the GDPR will mean an end to the DVLA selling drivers’ data to private parking firms? Or will the organisation simply find a way to circumvent the new regulations? Leave a comment below to air your views.
They shouldn’t be able to sell our personal information at all its bang out of order. If the company I work for sold ito customers details it would be out of business. It makes a mockery of the DPA Act as it is any way
I agree absolutely with new regulations. Drivers should always pay parking charges due but we need to protect ourselves from unjustified “fines” by rogue parking management companies who issue them sometimes for the most spurious of reasons.
I totally agree the point it ought to balance the need to regulate parking, without it becoming a profit generator.
As far as GDPR goes, it has plentiful exemptions for overriding consent when it comes to carrying out statutory acts or public good. I dare say DfT will view parking management as the latter.
Just what I was thinking – ‘statutory acts’ and ‘public good’ – only I framed it as using crown immunity – it amounts to the same thing, ie the government bureaucracy will screw us regardless of any regulations.
I can really see the DVLA looseing this cash cow. They will somehow find a way to justify what they do.
The parking companies already ignore their own guidelines required to get DVLA information and D VLA do not police the way these companies operate due to their lucrative rewards not to do so DVLA should only release information with written consent of the data subject which should not be compulsory to give.
When Governments pass legislation, there is usually a clause in it which excludes government departments from being included in the coverage of the legislation. I suspect the dvla will come under this exclusion.
If these new regulations go through,and these private companies can’t get the details from DVLA,they will probably just put a wheel clamp on the vehicle with just a phone number on the clamp!
They will not have enough wheel clamps
Can’t put a clamp on your car,thats illegal, on private land.
All supermarket shopping centres etc are classed as private land so the parking companyies can clamp you or are you referring to unused land
I agree, fines should be paid by people who break the rules. But we need protection from being fined illegally.
Would not be so bad if the money was used to fill in all the pot holes, instead of putting down more road humps or vertical deflection devices as they are called. By the way has anyone seen a CEE mark on any road humps?
Hi J Brads, we don’t have pot holes, we have inverted speed bumps, well they are never going to be filled in properly so we have to make the best of it, last January I was in Belamedina, Spain when they shut of one side of a mile long dual carriageway for repairs, having a contraflow, they then did the other side, starting at 9am finishing at 3pm with a lovely new road surface, we take a week just to look at it, then do a botched job
Don`t you think we pay enough taxes for our roads as it is,most of which is spent on anything BUT our roads.
We have potholed humps. Cars park on the road over the hump so we have to drive on the other side of the road. Markings not visible so car gets a helter skelter ride.
It is wrong to sell my details to any one, I have a disputed charge from a well known for dodgy methods, I requested the evidence from them only to be supplied with clearly concocted doctored photos, I have requested they test this in the county court on every communication with them. I still get the usual bluster from these rouges, But still no court appearance.
No fine should be legally enforceable which is greater than the normal per minute parking charge x duration of overstay. The normal charges already cover administration of the system and maintenance of the facility provided. If i was injured in the car park the owners legal liability would be limited to my actual losses so why any different rules.
John – Right. There is a great deal of difference between parking illegally – which should attract deterrent fines otherwise there would be complete chaos & anarchy – versus fines relating to staying in a designated public parking space beyond your time limit. This should attract a penalty in ratio to the initial parking cost.
Above all this, anyone that does receive a penalty charge should be able to request / demand that the information gained from DVLC by a third party ( Parking company ) should be deleted at the request of the person receiving the penalty ref GDPR this would make them need to request the information again in a repeat offence and should be transparent both ways from DVLC so that owners of the data can see how many times it has been requested and by whom ( if you have multiple tickets and only one request has been made then they would / should be in breech of GDPR.
Correct Ian, and If I am not mistaken under new GDPR law you can contact the DVLA tell them you do not give them consent to sell your personal data. You can as you say ask for them to contact the parking companies and ask them to delete it as well.
I wonder the persons involved in this practice are subject to the same conditions or perhaps if they are in possession of our details ,then each time a person receives a fine as a result of this it would be goodof them to send us vouchers to the value of to spend at various outlets?
I got a parking fine and i had to prove to them that i had not even been to that part of the country at the time they said i had parked in a private car park when in fact i had been at a funeral 30 miles away plus details of car were wrong. con merchents i think.
I think more careless than criminal. I was sent a penalty notice for contravening a No Right Turn somewhere in London. The accompanying photograph showed without doubt an incorrect, but fairly close VRM to mine. CARELESS. I was also able to prove my veh was parked at place of Work at the time.
If people/companies wish to provide parking then they should have parking payment machines – by law. If they use the type where you validate your tickent ( as in airport, shopping centres and hospitals) all they would need to do would be to set out the parking charges and if you chose to stay for an expensive time period that would be fair. Even if it was ridiculous amount for over say 2 hours at least you would be very aware of this. Proper parking payment meters should be provided for all parking areas by law
Be aware that only courts can impose fines. ‘Fines’ issued by private parking companies can only be collected if you are taken to court and the courts issue a fine.. Todate they have not taken anyone to court, only threatened too. See Martin Lewis money website, MSE.com, for details. I was persued to my Spanish address by Parking Eye ( they buy data from the EU). For parking in Wales on holiday. They cranked up the pressure, letter by letter. Do not reply to any letters. After third try they go away. Not worth it for them to take you to court, the cost of court action or worse being knocked back by the magistrates
Private parking companies DO NOT issue fines – they issue speculative invoices. They DO take people to court – to a civil court, not a magistrates court, and are very successful in chasing folk who ignore their increasingly threatening correspondence. A civil court will award costs if the case is undefended or if the court finds in the parking company’s favour and if those costs are not paid within 28 days, a CCJ will be issued. Martin Lewis updated his information some while ago and advised people not to ignore these parasites. The other point to note is that the DVLA is operated by Capita and Capita has links with some private parking companies – vested interest or what!
Parking eye will take court action they are the worst !!
I manage a small private car park in a busy area and if there was no way to keep trespassers off it would be a major problem for my organisation. Yes absolutely there must be a better balance than there is now, but landowners have rights too. Space has a value and if you park there without the right to do so you are stealing.
You’ll no doubt have to give consent before you’re allowed to buy your ticket. No consent = no parking!!
In fact, it would be a consent given by entering the parking area.
I consent to parking there I do not give them written consent to have access to personal data
The EU pass car owner details between different countries, something the UK resisted for a long time but I understand that from earlier this year the DLVA now supply this information as well. This means that a parking or speeding fine can do on to your doormat for an offence committed in Europe. Would the new GDPR cover this I wonder.
This is appalling . And should be stopped..
CORRECT, it is ILLEGAL, and you can lose your vehicle if caught by the Police using it, it is supposed to be for Farmers and the like. Anyone selling it to the ordinary car/van/lorry Driver should have their garage seized and any money made from this illegal trading.
The DVLA are above the law. They will find a way round it.
Raise the DVLA fee to £250 and introduce a penalty of £1000 payable by any parking company or council to any motorist who is found innocent of the offence by a court.
Raise the ante and make it clear to these companies that the motorist is not simply a source of income for them.
Couldn’t agree more! Everyone wants money for old rope these days. Also, fix the penalty to a maximum of Double/Triple the lost revenue. Still small change compared with £100 fine for 2 mins overstay.
All the DVLA has to do is to make agreement that they can sell our information a requirement to license a car and this fulfills the requirement. No agreement – no car, simple.
Frankly having seen extreme examples of selfish parking, I find my outrage at this not nearly as strong as my wish for privacy says it should be.
No! These companies will get round any legislation.
Private details should not be disclosed without express consent.
So what you are saying is indiscriminate Parkers shouldn’t be penalised?
What betting that the DVLA sidesteps GDPR by citing crown immunity (aka carte blanche to do anything to anybody with no possible recourse)?
They can’t claim that as they are not part of the crown (royal network)
This is one of those topics that we, the general public, will never win. I’s common knowledge that the parking companies, are legally raping the motorist financially. The DVLA are selling our details in order to facilitate this rape, although how they get away with it is beyond me. If I request any kind of personal information about my son or wife from a local council, doctor or other government body, I am quickly refused as it is against data protection laws, but the DVLA can do do it and charge for the privilege. The whole issue stinks of collusion between the parking companies, the DVLA and the judiciary. It will all come out at the end of the day, but in the meantime, the people who suffer most are the ones who always suffer, the general public.
It’s too much for them to lose to just sit quiet and accept. They’ll definitely look for a way round it. Like making it so people are obviously aware of the new law…like small print does etc.
When will people realise that we are only here to be took advantage of and shafted ever which way you turn.
Energy bills, fuel prices, our politicians lying who’s job it is to look after us, your council doing less and les each year, etc. etc.
We do sod all about it !
They have no right to sell or pass on any details. This includes freedom of information, if it involves giving out an address or name.
So under the data protection act this should be illegal and is for any other business. Even the NHS can’t give details out.
It must mean the government are breaking government legislation.
Anything is possible with this lot.
Are any MP’s involved with the parking company’s ?
Don’t take the car use public transport or a taxi instead
The DVLA will deny these parking pirates access to our details? Yes, and there are fairies at the bottom of my garden!
Pigs fly too
This is a national disgrace , this is making the government and councils money, big Brother is watching you we complain about other governments but this Government is doing the same
According to this article DVLA makes £1m a day, that’s £365million a year, from selling 4.71 million records. That equates to £77.50 per record. I don’t believe that is correct. Someone is massaging figures to incite our anger with the DVLA
I think it should against the Law to sell Personel Data, unless written consent is given,If these people were fined £1000.00 each time they sold Data I sure that selling Personel Data would cease! the DVLA & Local Councils are the biggest culprits
If this matter is not sorted all drivers & cars will be registered at Accomodation Addresses. Nothing illegal about this whatsoever. HMG have allowed parking to become a huge business that has NOTHING to do with safety or traffic flows.
Beware of parking charges, let alone the fines,at Liverpools “John Lennon airport.
Up to twenty minutes/£3.00,up.to 1 hour £10.00, up to 2hours £20.00, over 2 hours £50.00.
They are the biggest Aholes I have encountered in Fifty Four years of driving, don”t give the scum the satisfaction.
The DVLA are loosing millions after ditching the tax disc but get it back selling our data typical example of being a law abiding motorist a cash cow for practically every government department.What is needed is an independent association or union of UK drivers who can stand up for our rights.
How are they losing millions? You still have to buy VED and, in fact, they are raking it in through the double-payment of tax for any month in which a vehicle is sold or transferred (the old owner gets a refund for any full months remaining and the new owner has to pay from the beginning of the month they acquire the vehicle, so if I sell a car in May, I have paid DVLA for May and the new owner has to pay them for May too).
Comments on Twitter after a recent RAC report @hartyCG suggesting the DVLA will sight GDPR exemption for law enforcement will permit current practices to continue.
So indiscriminate Parkers can continue to do so, without penalty that’s a load of nonsense
I like things right and proper. It has always been insidious that the DV,LA should be allowed as a government agengy, to sell our private details to anyone.
In any avent, totally ignoring any fines letter is the best policy.
They will just clamp more to force the driver to come to them
They should ask permission before they give out private information.
A few years ago I received a parking notice from Met Parking for overstaying 1hr in a McDonalds car park at Heathrow at the time I was unaware of parking restrictions at any of McDonalds car parks I eventually tracked down a phone number that I could talk to a person who worked for this company (Met Parking) and explained that I would not be paying the charge they sent to me and would look forward to seeing them in court. After a month of the sending me further increases of the same charge I heard no more from them. That was about 8 years ago and since then I have never used a MacDonalds to this day.
8 years ago the law was different
Invasion of privacy. I would not give any consent to allow my details to be sold. As its my details could I get a percentage?
I am a Director of the Management Company for a private residential estate in Gloucestershire. We use a parking enforcement as our estate is within walking distance of the town centre and we have limited parking available for residents and genuine guests. Since employing the company the number of vehicles parking without our parking permit has reduced markedly and those entitled to be there can now park. I believe that the message has got around 🙂
I agree that there are some over zealous companies and wardens, and that a lot of money is being made. Our company specifically does not get any fee for reporting an errant vehicle. We use the service purely to ensure our residents can park.
We have to supply DVLA with info for taxation. Wonder when they will slip a hidden clause into the documents to overcome the law.
they should not have our details, I for one did NOT give the DVLA my permission, it is an act of privacy gone wrong, why should the motorist keep being targeted, the council and private company’s have to much power to do what they want, it is time the so called government rained them in and took away the power they have,
Scandalous misuse of private information. DVLA should be stopped immediately!
I’ve worked in the retail sector for over 30 years, based in our town centre. Since the local council employed a small army of parking attendants a few years ago, following the disbanding and redundancy of our local traffic wardens, our level of business has fallen dramatically as have many other businesses.
Our parking attendants regularly hang by vehicles waiting to time them out and like nothing better than to fine drivers who have valid tickets for overhanging spaces or being too far from the kerb. My wife has fallen foul of this tactic a few times!
The end result is that the council make a load of money but shoppers are heading away from the town and going to the surrounding retail parks where you can shop and park for free.
I recently had a visit from the Town Centre Manager (Earning over 40K) appointed by the council, to discuss how best to address the dying trade in the town. When I said “get rid of the parking attendants” she assured me they apparently help by keeping the traffic flow moving, freeing up space for potential shoppers. I’m afraid we disagree strongly on that one.
I need to go shopping later and will be heading for the retail park like the majority of shoppers.
Another downside to the parking charges is the impact on local part time workers. They’re on minimum wage and giving up to £2 an hour away for the privilege of coming to work. Please don’t reply about using public transport. Ours is unreliable, unclean and infested with addicts coming into town to get methadone. Would you want your wife/kids using it?
Does anyone at the DVLA have a personal interest in maximizing the revenue it raises, or do they do so only for the general good? Maybe a whistleblower in the DVLA could shine a light on their eagerness to sell our private information.
So, if I send a letter by recorded delivery to the DVLA informing them that unless it is a court requiring my details in a criminal case, they specifically do not have my permission to pass on/sell my details to anyone – they would have to honour that instruction?
Or is that too simples?
The DVLA are a Government Dept and should not be SELLING peoples private details to Private companies who use these details to harrass and bully people to pay ridiculous Charges, These are NOT FINES !