State departments of motor vehicles (DMVs) register automobiles and issue driver’s licenses. State DMVs require automobile owners and drivers to provide personal information including a person’s name, address, telephone number, vehicle description, Social Security number, medical information and a photograph, as a condition for registering an automobile or obtaining a driver’s license. Many state’s DMVs sold this personal information to individuals, advertisers, and businesses. These sales generated significant revenues for the states.
After receiving thousnads of complaints from individuals whose personal information had been sold, the U.S. Congress enacted the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) of 1994. This federal statute prohibits a state from selling personal information of a person unless the state obtains that person’s affirmative consent to do so. SOuth Carolina sued the United States, alleging that the federal government violated the Commerce Clause by adopting the DPPA. Was the Driver’s Privacy Protection properly enacted by the federal government pursuant to its Commerce Clause power?