18 November 2005

Privacy and the Motor Vehicle Register

I see that it has been reported in Stuff that “thieves track cars on vehicle register”.
You see you can, for a small fee, find out the name and address of any owner of a registered motor vehicle in New Zealand – useful if someone runs you over and you can recall the rego number, but also useful for marketing companies and stalkers. Although in some parts of the country the register is not exactly up to date, because the Police aren’t too keen on enforcing the law on such matters where it is rough.

Transport officials are drafting a Cabinet paper that would stem abuse of the system, including protecting against the disclosure of vehicle owners' personal information.

This is very old news, as Cabinet agreed in 2002 to tighten up privacy of the
Motor Vehicle Register it is about time – it simply hasn’t been a legislative priority since then.

Of course if roads were not run by the government there would still be a Motor Vehicle Register run collaboratively by the road companies, as there would be a need to ensure that there was a consistent level of information for charging vehicles, and enforcing conditions of using roads (currently traffic laws).

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