The Cybersecurity Priority

The Cybersecurity Priority

Protecting customers’ personal data is a critical responsibility

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Here is a thought that can keep a motor vehicle administrator up at night: We are responsible for massive amounts of data. Our customers entrust us with this data. And how we protect and share these records can have a direct impact on safe drivers, safe vehicles, secure identities and saving lives.

Driver and motor vehicle records are our largest and often least visible asset. And they also may be our most vulnerable asset. The integrity of this information— how we protect it and share it—must be a top priority.

Sometimes it seems like everyone wants a piece of our data, either for lawful purposes or more nefarious reasons. Other jurisdictions, safety professionals and companies that employ drivers must have access to important driver and vehicle data. The consequences of not properly sharing this information can be deadly.

However, the consequences of driver and motor vehicle records falling into the wrong hands can be equally dangerous. There is a delicate balance between security and access, and lives are at stake. Cybersecurity threats and unauthorized access compound our challenges in protecting data.

We must do our due diligence to ensure that those who need access to our records get them, and those who want access to our records but are not legally entitled to them don’t. And it does not stop there. We must have safeguards in place to make sure those who are permitted to obtain our records are using them the way they are supposed to.

Our cybersecurity strategies also must evolve along with all the new advancements in transportation and vehicle services. Think about how autonomous vehicles, motor carrier platooning, scooters, transportation network companies, mobile driver’s licenses and digital license plates bring a whole new set of challenges to our records management and security.

There is not a single answer. These existing and emerging challenges require innovative solutions in data security and privacy. It’s a combination of technology, policy, information governance, money and more.

The strength of AAMVA is in its members. Your involvement is crucial as we look at ways to protect driver and vehicle records while providing appropriate access as permitted by law. Now is the time to share ideas and develop best practices to comprehensively manage the valuable data with which we are entrusted.

There are a number of AAMVA working groups focused on the proper use of data, including the Managing Data Privacy and External Access Working Group, the Third Party Agents Working Group, as well as an ad-hoc working group looking at the use of DMV data provided through the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System. Look for white papers later this year.

The collaboration among AAMVA members at conferences, meetings and throughout the year can also translate into enhanced information sharing among jurisdictions. Through this engagement, we can find the right balance between privacy and public safety. In doing so, we can better protect and serve our customers, and sleep a little more soundly at night! 

Whitney Brewster

2019–2020 AAMVA
Chair of the Board

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