Access to Motor Vehicle Register information is determined by the type of information being requested and the reason for requesting the information.
Vehicle information is available to any person on request.
The names and addresses of companies or other corporate bodies that are or have been previously registered in respect of a vehicle are available to any person on request. Company name and address are considered to be in the public domain and so do not require the level of protection given to individuals.
Anyone who wishes to obtain the names and addresses of registered persons who are individuals may apply to the Transport Agency. The Transport Agency will consider such requests using the criteria contained in the Official Information Act. This requires the Transport Agency to weigh up the public interest in releasing the information sought against the privacy rights of the individual concerned.
An authorised person can request the name and address of an individual without their request being considered against the criteria in the Official Information Act. An authorisation is likely to be sought by persons who access Motor Vehicle Register information in bulk, or on a frequent and ongoing basis.
See Authorised access to the Motor Vehicle Register for further information about this process and how to apply.
Individuals that do not want their name and address to be released to a person who has been granted an authorisation from the Transport Agency without first having their privacy interest considered may ask for their details to be withheld. This is called 'opting-out'.
Opting-out means that a person with an authorisation must specifically request the individual's name and address from the Transport Agency. The Transport Agency will then weigh up the public interest in releasing the individual's details against their privacy.
Before you opt-out, keep in mind that persons authorised are those that have a legitimate need for access to information held on the Motor Vehicle Register and include organisations such as insurers, finance companies and motor vehicle traders. Opting-out may mean that it costs more and takes longer for you to complete any transactions with these organisations as they will be required to specifically request your information from the Transport Agency.
Opting out came into effect on 1 May 2011 but any person who has obtained an individual's name and address prior to this date, may continue to use that information.
Where requested by an individual, the Transport Agency will provide the name of any person to whom their details have been provided and the purpose for which their information was disclosed unless the disclosure was for one of the purposes of the Motor Vehicle Register.
You can opt-out online. You will need to provide your driver licence number and the number plate of all the vehicles registered in your name.
Information matching generally involves the comparison of one set of records with another, to find records in both sets of data that belong to the same person. Information matching programmes are authorised by Parliament and monitored by the Privacy Commissioner. Parliament has approved two such programmes that use personal information from the Motor Vehicle Register. These are the:
Unenrolled Voters Programme, and
Motor Vehicle Traders Sellers Programme.
The Unenrolled Voters Programme compares information from the Motor Vehicle Register with information held on the electoral roll in order to:
identify people who are qualified to vote but have not enrolled, so that they can be invited to enrol, and
update the addresses of people whose names are already on the roll.
The Motor Vehicle Traders Sellers Programme enables the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to identify people who have sold more than six motor vehicles in a 12-month period and are not registered as motor vehicle traders.
For more information on both of these programmes see the website of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. (external link)