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back to article DVLA pledges investigation over Castrol spy posters

The DVLA's sideline in selling data to marketing companies is under renewed scrutiny after Castrol used it to target drivers with personalised billboard advertising. The poster campaign - at five high profile locations in London - was scheduled to run for two weeks but was pulled last week after just four days, following …

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FAIL

The DVLA today said such use was "inappropriate" and it was "urgently...

...raising an invoice to send to Castrol."

Mun.

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Big Brother

Well Done DVLA

Thank you for, yet again, demonstrating how the Government cannot be trusted with personal data and illustrating why the National ID card scheme and the National Identity Register is such a very BAD idea!

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"Oh, look! We got caught!"

"The DVLA today said such use was "inappropriate" and it was "urgently investigating" ".

HA!

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Good luck to them...

...the details of my registration plate according to the DVLA are 3 years out of date, so they'd be advising incredibly wrongly in this instance, 0w30 Fully Synthetic as used in my previous car in a Diesel Toyota Avensis would be messy....

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Big Brother

Frightening

Shouldn't be too long before 'concerned citizens' can scrape together some money and get all the data they need to mount a, "The lime green Volvo stopped at the lights in front of you, registration ABC123D, is owned by a convicted paedophile", interactive campaign.

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Big Brother

It still astounds me

that the DVLA are allowed to pass on this data to third parties at all.

Why isn't it illegal under the Data Protection Act?

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Grenade

'...such use was "inappropriate"...'

Oh yeah? Sounds a bloody sight more "appropriate" than the service being punted on the telly at the moment where you text in a registration number and get back all the details on the car and a ballpark value based on what it is.

I wonder where the information to tie a registration number to a specific make, model, year and specification of car required to do this is coming from?

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@Scott Mckenzie,

"...the details of my registration plate according to the DVLA are 3 years out of date,"

Chavvy personalised numberplate alert ... whoop whoop

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Info could have come from...

...any number of places. Here's one:

https://www.mycarcheck.com/

Registration and car make and models are not confidential.

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Big Brother

Suspect....

....that the entire database will be on wikileaks soon.

Look forward to that, should be more intresting than the postcode database.

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FAIL

fail

Most of the people I know wouldn't have a clue what their own number plate is - or where to put the oil once they'd bought it! The days of maintaining your own car are long gone for the vast majority.

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Stop

This is an acceptable use.

Hook this up to other Government databases and start publishing personal, medical, tax records, convictions and hearsay on bill boards.

MPs and Civil Servants first please.

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FAIL

Text

"The DVLA today said such use was "inappropriate" " but its ok to text a reg number and get back full details of a car including estimated cost?

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Anyone can look up the make/model of a car from its Reg number

It's a free service on the DVLA website.

You can't get drivers' details quite so easily although they're quite happy to punt those out to all sorts of fly by night "private ticketing" operations and the like

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FAIL

The Question is....

...are they fucking stupid, or what?

You're supposed to be "driving" and not "shopping"

Your life may depend on it, not to mention other people's.

Twunts!

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What?

"DVLA provides vehicle information under strict contractual terms to the motor industry to ensure vehicles are fitted with the correct parts, including brakes, tyres and oil."

So before the DVLA did this people were always fitting the wrong parts to their cars? The only way of finding out the make and model of your car is to ask the DVLA?

They are either stupid or liars.

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Joke

Something a bit simpler

DVLA data ? LOL

It was the PFY a little ways up the road from the billboard typing car registrations furiously into a WiFi laptop. The BOFH having pocketed the cash meant for the DVLA data...

Come on El Reg, we don't mind a bit of bias, but pre-judgement ?

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FAIL

Right car, wrong oil

Well, that's a useful service. The correct oil for your car is obviously "absolutely anything that isn't Castrol", since you'd essentially be loading your engine with 7 parts oil and 3 parts empty air, representing the proportion of the sticker price that goes to their Strategy Boutique to think up "exciting, intriguing" intrusive marketing bullshit.

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Anonymous Coward

Get rid of the DVLA

I don't think they would be missed by anyone. Fine them personally first though, wouldn't want them profiteering from crime and immoral actions.

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Hmmmm

They should use the system to flag up uninsured, written off and non taxed cars as they go past. That will get the drivers attention and those around them.

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Coat

Err

UK drivers are bad enough, so trying to "grab their attention" is a stupid thing to do. Both castrol and DVLA should see this as a safety issue.

I don't know why anyone is surprised by this leak. It happens all the time!

I'll get my motorcycle jacket.

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Anonymous Coward

accpetable use?

there's also someone at the moment advertising a service where you sned a text with a car reg number and it comes back with make/model of the car and an estimate of its current value + some stats on performance etc. Clearly aimed at someone looking to buy a 2nd hand car ... but I suspect there must be some potential for misuse.

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Grenade

Who fucking cares, really?

All it is is your car information. What good/bad is that going to do to anyone? I dont understand why anyone would worry about somone else knowing what car they have?

Surely if you did, you would want to gouge everyone's eyes out for looking at you when you drive past them in your car?

You're not going to stop companies advertising, so I why stop them trying to sell you things you might actually want, or dare I say it, need??

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Stop

Meh

So what? it got the make and model from the number plate and used that to suggest oil?

1. If the recognition software was better it wouldn't need the number plate.

2. You don't own a number plate, the DVLA do (not even a chavvy one).

3. There were no personal details used

Now, if it flashed up the last recorded owners name, that would be a problem.

Although, distracting a specific driver (deliberately) is probably a bit stupid, my guess it's just a publicity stunt, if you object to this then boycot Castrol, if you have your oil changed at a garage then tell them you don't want Castrol, simple.

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FAIL

DVLA was "urgently investigating"...

... how stupid it is to give this information out to all and sundry...

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Do they never think...

...that we might be so pissed off with having our details sold that we might deliberately never buy the product? If Castrol flashed up my licence plate, I woudl (1) not believe them (2) next time I needed oil, specifically buy a different brand.

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Anonymous Coward

Lucky it was Castrol

Lucky it was Castrol, a reputable company and public, so people are aware of it and lucky the only info published was the oil requirement. But it also means that data is likely being misused by less reputable less public companies.

If DVLA let the data out for such trivia, then it's been handed out freely to all comers for all reasons.

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Stop

Opt out?

Anyone know whether it is possible to opt out of your details being sold by the DVLA?

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Coat

"Right Oil, Right Car"?

That would be the information given in the specifications in the car's manual then. I bet you any money it doesn't say 'Castrol'.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Anyone can look up the make/model of a car from its Reg number

Jon said:

>It's a free service on the DVLA website.

Where? I've needed to do this in the past and have found no such service.

??

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@Greg D

Totally agree, mate. I just wish halfords would use an updated version of the database and not cause me to buy the wrong replacement battery!

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WTF?

@Scott Mckenzie

If the details held by the DVLA for your registration are out of date then it's *your* responsibility. IIRC failure to inform the DVLA of any change is subject to a fine of up to £5000, withdrawal of your sad personalized plate and confiscation of the vehicle.

Are you saying that the DVLA think your plate is assigned to one vehicle, while you've fitted it to another? If this is the case then how do you get a valid tax disc? The disc has vehicle details on it which presumably won't match your current car. Futhernore this would mean your insurance was invalid. Which means your either some sort of insurance dodging scumbag or you're talking nonsense.

Which is it?

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Coat

@ TeeCee, RE text car check

I can only think of one application where you would need an urgent text message or a car's spec and value...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WO1K5r1YE8

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Big Brother

Service is surfaced on...

... KwikFit & National Tyres and probably other similar sites.

Get over it.

:o)

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FAIL

Also incompetant, as usual

Surely Castrol would be better aiming the adverts at the people actually responsible for changing engine oil.

The number of drivers who know where to top up their oil is probably falling year on year, especially as the current wave of motors that don't allow you or indeed anyone but the manufacturer to do an oil change, Audi for example.

So this is what we can expect when the Go Vermin start to flog off the data in the NHS system.

ALF

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Anonymous Coward

I think I've seen this

there's something like this running in hammersmith, on the road to charing cross hospital. Flashes up a number plate & some oil (on a billboard that I guess sucks kilowatts to light up). If it's the same campaign, it's been going for more than four days.

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OFI
Paris Hilton

Evlportalapp

@ Jon 84 & AC

http://www.taxdisc.direct.gov.uk/EvlPortalApp/

Yes you can check any vehicle, and strangely the line about only checking your own vehicle has recently been removed..

It does need the vehicle make though so the system Castrol uses must be better!

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Happy

Re: Evlportalapp

Hmm. I read that at first glance as "Evil Portal App"...

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Big Brother

Other lookup sources

Course you could always look up the registration no on any of the insurance websites (minor screen scraping needed). I also remember that some of the tyre companies had them (national?)

not that anyone would check the details to match whats registered against say a carpark and flag up 'unwanted / suspect' ones for tipoffs....

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Grenade

Re Scott McKenzie

By Scott Mckenzie Posted Monday 28th September 2009 11:39 GMT

...the details of my registration plate according to the DVLA are 3 years out of date

Then you're almost certainly breaking the law for failing to properly notify them of a change.

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Anonymous Coward

Easy..

Time to scrape some politically sensitive numbers, then raise merry hell that those numbers are not available (that's assuming DVLA have bothered to mask those). Could be fun if there was a generic string for covert police vehicles..

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Crash!

So when's the first defence of being distracted by it, causing an accident, going to be mounted? Where I live we have distracting extremely childish flashing speed signs that have little smiley faces if you are going at the correct speed or some that flash "Thank you" at you. What a load of twaddle. Someone must think the driving age limit has just been lowered to seven!

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Megaphone

want a BILLBOARD advert?

want an advert for drivers to read?

oi! driver! ignore this stupid billboard and concentrate on the f****g road!

you're a driver, not a passenger

:-|

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WTF?

What the DVLA encourages the data to be used for...

Go to the DVLA website and there is a link to here -> http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/layer?r.l1=1081597476&r.l3=1082104761&topicId=1082032108&r.lc=en&r.l2=1082103262&r.s=tl

-they state that you can buy 29 items of car data from any of 5 intermediatries that can be used for marketing or setting up a car dealership.

They actively encourage it!

A quote from the website:

How the data can be used

Vehicle data contains the first part of each vehicle keeper's postcode. This can give you an idea of the distribution of vehicles across Great Britain by make, model and body type.

This might help you decide where to locate a dealership for a particular type or make of vehicle.

You might also find this data useful when planning advertising or promotional campaigns. The data may help you target particular areas where people are more likely to buy new vehicles or tend to own larger or smaller vehicles.

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RW

Is this the root cause?

Years and years ago, some guru urged that public bodies be run in a more business-like fashion. The thought behind the suggestion was that as then structured, it was impossible for government to figure out what parts of it were yielding net revenue and which parts were a net cost. Indeed, this problem, on a gargantuan scale, is what sank the old Soviet economy.

The problem arose when "run in a more business-like fashion" (i.e. with proper financial controls) was re-phrased as "run like a business." All of a sudden, the words "profit center" loomed large.

Any ninny (except politicians and die-hard capitalists) knows that government isn't a business and never will be. It's "customers" aren't customers at all; they're a captive market and they have no alternative. Want a driver's license or a passport? You have only one government body to turn to, with no competition.

I'll leave it as an exercise how this perverted p.o.v. evolved into the idea that a government body is free to sell its records to anyone with cash in hand, with privacy being a non-issue.

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Paris Hilton

@Matt 21

"They are either stupid or liars."

...or think we all have a zip up the back of our heads!

I believe the OGC logo is appropriate to the DVLA

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Big Brother

This shows the people in government are utterly corrupt.

This is a perfect example of how the government isn't protecting our data at all. Not only do they fail to protect our data, they are actually selling it! ... Plus how long before we get this with RFID ID cards.

"DVLA today said such use was "inappropriate" and it was "urgently investigating""

So they consider its ok for other forms of exploitation of OUR PERSONAL DATA, but not this case. Companies wouldn't buy the data if they couldn't see a way to exploit the data for personal gain! ... so *Every leak of our data is a leak* ... Plus if they leak OUR DATA even just once, then that can be copied and spread to other companies, either in raw form or in some reprocessed form.

They should fire everyone in government who has sold, leaked or allowed personal data to slip into the hands of any business.

That includes firing everyone in local government who sell OUR data.

This shows the people in government are utterly corrupt. They are blatantly exploiting us for their gain. Sell everyones data, more money for government.

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make, model, pah

Of course if you can see a plate, you can see a make and model. Having a service to check it out is fine. What isn't fine is the DVLA giving out personal information to people claiming to be parking companies. This will change the first time someone sees an attractive woman driver, and gets the DVLA to help in tracking her down. I can see a big compensation case on the horizon.

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Coat

Correct organisation, wrong problem

@All of you moaning about the DVLA giving away your details:

Seriously, who the smeg cares if, from the reg plate, you can get to the make/model/engine type from the reg plate? It should be plainly obvious from looking at the car the reg plate's screwed to what the first two are! I for one find the Castrol website useful because it will tell me from the reg plate what oil a particular car needs, and more importantly, how much (sump capacity), as well trans fluid, diff lube...etc. Doesn't necessarily mean I buy Castrol oil, as it's overpriced...

The real problem is that the DVLA will sell Driver's details to every cowboy clamping outfit out there! Direct your daggers at that particular outrage, ladies and gentleman, not a potentially useful service.

For the record, I don't think extending this service to advertising boards is a good idea (Driver distraction), but if it makes the great unwashed think about the implications of ANPR p'raps it's a good thing.

Mine's the one with the used engine oil stain down the sleeve...

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Anonymous Coward

what I want...

When will the DVLA create a system which allows us to find out the phone number of the girl driving the car..I want to be able to see a pretty girl, key her reg in and get her phone number...

Nothing wrong with being a perve...

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