Can You Look Up Driver's License Information Online?

Details on a Free Database

woman holding drivers license
Getty Images | Ned Frisk

Now, here's a home page that would seem to confirm everyone's worst fears about the Internet! Billed as the website of the "National Motor Vehicle License Bureau," it purports to offer a "free searchable database of over 121 million U.S. driver's license photos and license information." How can that be?

Is Driver's License Information Available Online?

"The United States B.S. amendment to the Freedom of Information Act enacted on Sept.

3rd, 2004 provides public access to motor vehicle driver's information in an electronic format," the blurb continues. "Under the Motor Vehicle Operator License Identification Act (MOLIA), all US states are required to adhere to the Driver's B.S. statute and store an electronic copy of all valid drivers licenses in their state..."

So, by filling out a simple web-based form, supposedly, any user can search the Bureau's centralized database containing more than 220 million driver's licenses.There's just one slight hitch: it's a joke — it ain't real!

What Does the License Bureau Reveal?

A reader describes what actually happens when you type in your name and conduct a "search" on the site:

"If you do enter a name, state, town and gender, what comes up is a picture of a grinning monkey and the question, 'You didn't really think you could get someone's driver's license on the Internet, did you?'"

The fact is, the so-called "Motor Vehicle Operator License Identification Act (MOLIA)" doesn't exist.

While there are a few bonafide fee-based websites that provide access to driver's license data from states that allow it "for legitimate purposes," it's not quite this easy to invade other people's privacy from your computer.

Like most popular prank websites, this one succeeds not only because of its slick design and surface plausibility, but because it plays on people's very real fears — in this case, the fear of privacy invasion.

Some people have found this site so upsetting that they've written to their Congressmen about it; others are nonplussed and simply forward the URL on to their most gullible friends.

Taking Security Measures

Does this fake motor vehicle website store visitors' private information or leave cookies on their computers? The source code shows no indication of malicious activity. That could change without notice, however, and there are several other, similar sites out there whose safety is up for grabs, so proper cautionary measures are recommended.

Sample Email About Free License Information

Subject: Check your Driver's License

Big Brother has taken away our privacy. All the world can get your information off your drivers license. Check it out!

Check your Driver's License I already removed mine. I suggest you all do the same. Now you can see anyone's Driver's License on the Internet, including your own! I just searched for mine and there it was... picture and all! Thanks Homeland Security! It's unbelievable!!! Just enter your name, city and state to see if yours is on file. After your license comes on the screen, click the box marked "Please Remove." This will remove it from public viewing, but not from law enforcement. Please notify all your friends so they can protect themselves too. Believe me they will thank you for it.

http://www.license.shorturl.com/