It’s pretty easy to hoax people. We all want to be deceived, but only up to a point. Some hoaxes are fun and pleasant, others malicious and unpleasant. We’d like a way to tell the difference (Robert Carroll).

Dec 12, 2010

Your Driver’s License on Internet

Several years ago, I received email claiming that any Internet user can view anyone else Driver's License details by visiting a specified website and entering a name, city and state into a search form. Over the next month, I received several other similar messages, so I guess this mailing was kind of popular. The text of the message was as follows:

This is serious people... I just deleted mine!!!

This is upsetting but I thought I should pass it along. Check your drivers license. 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! Where are our rights?
I definitely removed mine. I suggest you do the same. . .
Go to the web site and check it out. 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.

Hoax-Slayer offers an alternative version of the same email:

You need to check this out everybody!!!!

Invasion of Privacy!!!
I just found this.
You can see anyone's Driver's License on the Internet - including your own! I just searched for mine and there it was.. .picture, address and all! Maybe we should start up a petition or something protesting this.
What do you think? Go to the website and check it out. It's unbelievable!!!
Just enter your name, City and state to see if yours is on file.

Needless to say, that the warning is not real. The email is simply the bait for a classic "gotcha" joke and should not be taken seriously. You cannot actually view driver’s license information on the site by entering a name, city and state into the website mentioned in the message. Visitors who do enter the requested details eventually arrive at a "results" page that displays a fake driver's license that includes an amusing image in place of the usual license holder's photograph. It does not matter what data is entered into the "search", as the end result will be the same. Even completely fabricated information will generate an identical result.

The site claims that the information entered is not collected and I have no reason to doubt this claim. The following statement is included on the "results" page:

Privacy Policy: This site did not collect the name you entered. It was used only to simulate the joke search and generate the image above.

The website is actually rather clever and, since no real driver's license information is revealed, it does not compromise the privacy of license holders in any way. Unfortunately, many people are forwarding the message onward without bothering to go to the site and check it out. Seemingly, many recipients are taking the email at face value and actually believe the information it contains to be true. These days there are a plethora of real threats to our privacy so obscuring the truth by perpetrating false invasion of privacy stories is less than desirable.

Having said that, taken in context, the site represents an enjoyable prank. If you have a minute, you might like to visit the site mentioned and enter some data in order to test the joke for yourself. As stated above, the name you enter does not need to be real. If you are concerned about providing your name on the site, just invent one. The end result will be the same:


1 comment:

Service Design said...

hmm...I think this post is very important to everyone who doing some Driver's License on the Internet. But personally, it was not convincing! Maybe try to post some more information about it, then I'll try! Just like what you've said earlier -The end result will be the same! Thanks for sharing.

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