Bills designed to protect Utahns’ personal identifying information continue to make their way through the Utah state legislature with strong support.
However, at the same time these bills are moving forward, the legislature continues to allow state election officials to sell the personal identifying information, including the full date of birth (month, day and year), of roughly 1.5 million registered voters.
Under current law, the only way Utah’s 1.5 million registered voters can stop the state from selling their personal information is to cancel their voter registration. This may at least partially explain why an estimated 25% to 33% of eligible voters are not registered to vote.
If the legislature held state election officials to the same standards for protecting personal information that it applies to private businesses, the driver’s license division, and to peace officers, voters’ personal information would already be protected and state election officials would be facing stiff penalties for compromising Utahn’s identities.
The legislature’s continuing failure to protect voters’ personal information increases the risk of identity theft for 1.5 million Utahns. The legislature also exposes senior citizens to scams by allowing election officials to sell their names, addresses, phone numbers and birth dates to anyone willing to pay for them and it also puts victims of domestic violence and stalking at risk by selling their names, addresses, phone numbers and birth dates.
At least four bills designed to protect much of the same identifying information that the state now sells are working their way through the legislature. However, as written, none of them stop election officials from selling the personal information of all Utah registered voters.
- HB79 removes the owner’s address from vehicle registration forms and proof of insurance cards; however, the Lt. Governor’s office will continue to sell this information for all 1.5 million registered voters.
- SB12 protects the account information of UTA customers including the identity of the purchasing individual and the transit pass identifier assigned to the customer; however, the state still sells the identifying information of many of these passengers.
- SB20 requires the state to implement best practices to avoid another massive data breach that resulted in millions of Utahns personal records being compromised. However, the sale of the identifying information of 1.5 million registered voters exceeds most state data breeches.
- SB170 adds "photograph or realistic likeness" to the list of personal identifiers (name, birth date, address, telephone number, etc.) that constitutes identity fraud when used by another person. Ironically, the Lt. Governor sells almost all of the identifiers required for identity fraud rather than protecting them.