2021 Bills

HB 411: Government Transparency in Sharing of Information

To track the status of this bill, find it on our Legislation Tracker. Click here to contact the sponsor of the bill to share your thoughts, or click here to email your Senator and Representative about it.

Libertas Institute supports this bill

Staff review of this legislation finds that it aligns with our principles and should therefore be passed into law.

Government transparency regarding what it does with the data Utahns provide to it is an important issue. Last year, it was discovered that the Drivers License Division had a memorandum of agreement with the University of Utah to provide sensitive information about Utahns. From height and weight to mothers’ maiden names and previous living addresses, the sheer amount of information being distributed on Utahns without their consent was quite alarming, and understandably so. In the 21st Century, that kind of information can easily be used by hackers to conduct all kinds of illicit activities, notably identity theft.

When Utahns sign up for their licenses, they reasonably think they are signing up for permission to drive on the road. At no point were they informed that the information they were required to provide to the division would be shared with the University of Utah as well. The database, known as The Utah Population Database, touted by the University as “the largest of its kind in the country,” has the personal and highly sensitive information of over 4 million people. Representative Karianne Lisonbee introduced and passed House Bill 183 last year in an effort to bring more transparency to this particular issue.

This year, Representative Lisonbee has introduced House Bill 411 with the intention of building upon the process of increasing transparency in how government entities are sharing our information. This bill is a good way to start a conversation about how Utah can achieve this goal of increasing transparency and accountability from the government. Introducing legislation aimed at increasing transparency can go a long way in trying to restore trust between the government and individuals.