"State Takes Action on Internal State Software Piracy, Sale of Driver License Information on Web"

“Software Piracy in GovernmentGovernor Gary Locke has signed an executive order to help prevent the illegal acquisition and distribution of computer software within Washington state government. As a major purchaser and user of computer software, Washington state government must set an example in acquiring and using legally licensed software, Locke said.Locke has directed all state agencies to take the following actions:- Adopt procedures to prevent the unlawful acquisition, reproduction, distribution or transmission of computer software.- Establish procedures to ensure computer software use complies with the law.- Take appropriate measures if contractors or financial assistance recipients use state funds to acquire, operate or maintain illegal software.Locke cited economic concerns for issuing the order.Illegal software use has a very damaging impact on Washington’s economy, Locke said.Industry estimates show pirated software costs the state’s economy almost 4,000 jobs per year and more than $200 million in lost wages. Washington is home to over 7,000 high-tech businesses, including software developers, software training groups, and high-tech service organizations. High-tech businesses employ more than 76,000 people and pay over $3.7 billion in annual wages, according to the state.Driver License Information SalesThe Washington State Department of Licensing has begun auditing companies with access to driver license information.We are alarmed by the number of Internet websites selling information which could only be obtained by illegally accessing driver records, said DOL Director Fred Stephens. As stewards of personal information about Washington citizens, we have a responsibility to ensure that the information is not being improperly distributed.State government will move swiftly and severely against those who would illegally divulge personal and private information without consent, said Governor Gary Locke.Information contained in Abstracts of Driver Records may legally be provided to law enforcement, the courts, insurance companies, and employers. Insurance companies and employers typically work through one of four service bureaus who contract with DOL for access to driver records. The contracts give DOL the right to conduct audits at the bureau’s expense.The first audit notification letter was sent recently to a service bureau. DOL has requested:- A list of all subscribers who have requested Washington State ADRs through the company in the past two years, including names of subscribers and their subscriber codes;- Copies of required certification that records will only be used for authorized purposes for each of the subscribers;- A copy of the required log for each request for information made by the company in the past two years;- An account of the measure taken to ensure that information supplied by DOL has not been divulged, supplied, sold, assigned or transferred to anyone other than the subscribers; and- Copies of any advertising, sales promotion, or other publicity materials used by the company within the past two years relating to products or services that involve DOL records.Service bureaus pay per record to DOL and then charge a fee to the requesting company. Total revenue collected from DOL record request fees average around $10 million per year. Washington State law and the federal Driver Privacy Protection Act prohibit data from being used for unauthorized purposes. Washington State disclosure requirements are reportedly among the most restrictive in the nation.Should an audit determine that improper disclosure has occurred, DOL has the option of immediately terminating access and the company may be charged with a gross misdemeanor.”