The Road Safety Authority and the Data Protection Commissioner have begun investigations into how private correspondence from motorists could be viewed by other applicants on the National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) website.
The commissioner’s office was alerted yesterday to the fault on the NDLS website by a member of the public, with the RSA informing the commissioner that it was also looking into the issue.
The NDLS is the new service which deals with applications for learner permits and driving licences. Applicants using the website’s “contact us” section were able to view other messages sent to the site by other applicants.
Contact details such as email addresses and phone numbers are believed to have been featured in error on the section of the site, which was yesterday closed down for a time.
In a statement, the RSA said: “It appears that the facility may not have ‘refreshed’ itself and deleted the previous queries as quickly as it should have, in all cases, to enable the next user to submit their query via the electronic ‘contact us’ form.”
The form has now been removed and replaced with an email address.
The RSA said a total of 721 people had used the contact us service to submit queries on the NDLS website since Oct 29 but stressed the service is not used for payments or applications.
The RSA also apologised and said it was taking immediate steps to contact all 721 users affected and complete a review of the 721 emails and follow up with each contact accordingly.
The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner confirmed it had been looking into the issue following a complaint by a member of the public, and that the RSA had made contact yesterday afternoon.
The Monaghan motorist who raised the alarm said: “I sent them an email and they replied, but when I proceeded to respond, in relation to my application, and went into their site to bring up the ‘contacts form’, I discovered that all the details I had already provided came back up on the form, and were displayed for everyone to view.”
He said he was able to read correspondence from different applicants giving security details of driving licences being renewed.
Since taking over responsibility for the issuing and renewing of driving licences last month, the NDLS has had to take on additional staff to deal with demand and yesterday on its website stated some customers may not receive their licence for a number of weeks due to demand.
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