John and Ken at KFI in Los Angeles flagged this story yesterday about Orange County, California’s outsourcing of DMV data processing to Mexico. The Orange County Register follows up. Officials are blaming the talk radio messengers, naturally, instead of acknowledging the potential for harm:
Orange County’s Superior Court contracts with a company that uses workers in Nogales, Mexico, to do the data entry of traffic tickets, a revelation on Thursday that outraged many who fear personal information is leaving the country.
The court has contracted since March 2006 with Cal Coast Data Entry, Inc., a Cerritos company that has a facility in Nogales. Information from tickets – including drivers’ license numbers, car license numbers, birth dates and addresses – are scanned at the Cerritos facility and sent electronically to the Mexican facility.
In a statement issued Thursday evening, court officials defended use of the company, saying transfer of ticket information was by electronic encryption and the company has state-of-the-art security.
“The company and the staff they employ are dedicated to keeping the public’s data secure and safe,” the statement said. “The court wants to ensure the public that private data is safe.”
Court officials refused to release the cost of the contract and said they would continue using the company. Cal Coast officials wouldn’t comment, citing client confidentiality.
The disclosure of the Mexican outsourcing came from an unnamed county law enforcement officer who called a popular conservative radio program, KFI’s “John & Ken Show,” saying he had concerns about identity theft and the potential for terrorism.
The Register quotes an academic sneering at KFI’s “infotainment” and pooh-poohing citizen activism.
Talk radio-basher Trent Lott would agree, no doubt.
John and Ken have more on the story here.