Scanning Driver’s Licenses

By Deane Barker on February 7, 2004

Great Taste, Less Privacy: I haven’t been to a bar in years, so I didn’t know this, but apparently the new trend is to scan driver’s licenses to verify a patron’s age. Obviously, privacy issues abound.

Visitors to an art exhibit at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts got more than their martinis when they ordered drinks at a bar inside the gallery’s entrance. Instead of pretzels and peanuts, they were handed a receipt containing the personal data found on their license, plus all the information that could be gleaned from commercial data-mining services and voter registration databases like Aristotle. Some patrons also got receipts listing their phone number, income range, marital status, housing value and profession. For added effect, the receipt included a little map showing the location of their residence.