WASHINGTON – During the week of Jan. 24, the Washington Department of Licensing shut down its Professional Online Licensing and Regulatory Information System (POLARIS), frustrating small business owners as they try to stay afloat during the pandemic.
On February 3, the agency announced that the reason it shut down POLARIS was due to a data breach.
While the typical Washingtonian uses the DOL for driver and vehicle licenses, POLARIS provides licensing for businesses and professionals to ensure they are state compliant and have the proper documentation. Without a license, stores may be closed.
“The POLARIS system stores information about its licensees and applicants. The type of information varies by license and may include social security numbers, dates of birth, driver’s license numbers, and other information If our investigation concludes that your information has been accessed, the DOL will notify you and provide further assistance,” the DOL said.
It does not appear that information from the driver and vehicle registration systems has been compromised.
With the blackout, anyone trying to renew their license cannot submit their application, including sureties, cosmetologists, employment agencies, building inspectors, nail technicians, notaries, security guards, tattoo artists, taxis and many more.
The DOL said it created a review intent form for businesses and professionals trying to renew their licenses while POLARIS is down. DOL will not take action against a license based on its expiration date while POLARIS is down.
You can find this form here.
DOL is working to get POLARIS back online but has not given a specific date.
Companies concerned about the security of their personal information can learn more here.
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