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ID Tech May Mean an End to Anonymous Drinking

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the say-were-you-going-to-finish-that-martini dept.

Privacy 514

Anonymous Howard writes "If you visit a lot of bars and restaurants, you've likely crossed paths with driver's license scanners — machines that supposedly verify that your license is valid. In actuality, many of these scanners are designed to record your license information in addition to verifying them, and those that authenticate against a remote database are creating a record of when and where you buy alcohol. Not only that, but they're not even particularly effective — the bar code on your license uses an open, documented standard and can be rewritten to change your age or picture. Collecting our driver's license information is one thing, but collecting data about our personal drinking habits is not only a violation of, according to the ACLU representative quoted in the article, privacy and civil liberties, but this 'drinking record' could also create problems for people in civil and criminal lawsuits as proof of alcohol purchases in DUI cases or evidence of alcoholism in divorce lawsuits."

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Frosty Piss, now checking for ID (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21990688)

Due to mounting pressure, purchases of all Frosty Piss, including steaming mug varieties, are now subject to mandatory ID recording. Our apologies for the inconvenience and we hope you enjoy your beverage.
 

t has to be said up front (4, Funny)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990746)

Let me be the firth to shay that I welcome our (Hic!).... waitaminute...what was I shaying?

God dammit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21990696)

The Beacon Hill Pub does this. Which is amazing, because they don't even have a telephone.

Re:God dammit (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991032)

"The Beacon Hill Pub does this. Which is amazing, because they don't even have a telephone."

I was wondering where they do this...I've never heard of such a thing.

Granted, I'm old enough looking now not to get carded, but, I've ever had my license 'scanned' for anything before. I rarely take it out of the wallet...just show it through the clear plastic holder for the picture.

This is kinda scary....I guess some places have really strict liquor laws eh? I'm used to NOLA....when I travel, I keep forgetting that other places don't know what a "to go" cup for your drink is....

:-)

But seriously...where do they do this...and is it really that prevalent? I've never heard of it anywhere I've traveled. Is this mostly in the NE of the US?

What could possibly fix this?!? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21990698)

Using cash.

Re:What could possibly fix this?!? (1)

PsychosisBoy (1157613) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990718)

You need to re-read, sir.

Re:What could possibly fix this?!? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21990928)

What could possibly fix your inability to finish the first sentence of the summary?!?

Take your Ritalin.

Re:What could possibly fix this?!? (2, Informative)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991334)

Using cash.
To bribe the person at the door to not scan your ID I assume.

Frist Prst (0, Offtopic)

xactuary (746078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990700)

Ur...

Hard Drive magnets make good magnetic strip wipers (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21990726)

For those of you in states where the license only has a magnetic stripe on it, and not a bar code, the magnets from inside hard drives do a great job at wiping out the data on the magnetic stripe.

Huh? (0)

corychristison (951993) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990730)

I'm not quite sure what is wrong with this. Yes, it tracks what you do. A good majority of websites also do that, and who knows what they are doing with the data? Every time you browse PornoTube, you are being followed... watch out!

*Snore* Call me when they start tracking my credit card purchases -- Oh, wait!

Re:Huh? (3, Insightful)

eli pabst (948845) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990836)

But websites using tracking cookies have little way of correlating your particular cookie with who you actually are unless you provide them with that info by choice. At the very most they can track an IP address, which in the era of dynamic IPs and TOR is largely useless unless you have access to ISP records. Here they have a nice little database including name, soc, and home address. Why would they even need to collect anything like that in the first place? Smacks of big brother to me.

Re:Huh? (4, Insightful)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990880)

A good majority of websites also do that, and who knows what they are doing with the data?

Really? Web sites track my behavior and correlate it with my name, address, date of birth, and (last I checked in some states) my social security number?

Doesn't sound too kosher to me.

Re:Huh? (0, Offtopic)

SargentDU (1161355) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991052)

Mr. Underbridge wrote: "Doesn't sound too kosher to me."


We're not in Israel anymore, Toto! :)

Re:Huh? (4, Interesting)

Mysticalfruit (533341) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991072)

The bigger issue is that it's not hard to tie all of this data together to get a picture of a persons live, less their privacy. Lets just say the RIAA pumps an extra million bucks into some senators reelection fund and manages to get a bill passed that makes it a crime to purchase more than 500 pieces of recordable media a year (without some sort of license).

It would be very easy for the government to subpoena the records of all the major chain stores and very quickly have a list of people who broke this law. They could even write it into the law that it's retroactive to some date. Or how about people who also have netflix accounts and own a DVD writer and have purchased DVD-R media in the last year... Even if it's not a technical "crime" they could probably sue you in civil court with a "Pay us 5k and we'll go away" shake down game.

Re:Huh? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21991382)

The bigger issue is that it's not hard to tie all of this data together to get a picture of a persons live, less their privacy. Lets just say the RIAA pumps an extra million bucks into some senators reelection fund and manages to get a bill passed that makes it a crime to purchase more than 500 pieces of recordable media a year (without some sort of license).

It would be very easy for the government to subpoena the records of all the major chain stores and very quickly have a list of people who broke this law. They could even write it into the law that it's retroactive to some date. Or how about people who also have netflix accounts and own a DVD writer and have purchased DVD-R media in the last year... Even if it's not a technical "crime" they could probably sue you in civil court with a "Pay us 5k and we'll go away" shake down game.
There is one defense against that, though. Cash. Personally I only purchase things with cash except for online stuff. Even online I try to avoid using anything other than a visa giftcard.

Re:Huh? (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991264)

There are plenty of reasons you might, or might not, see this as a privacy violation. But the presence of prior privacy violations doesn't mean that new ones are ok.

Note that many people do indeed consider cookies a privacy violation even though they typically don't have as much potential as these ID scans to cause harm. And those people, if they're informed enough to know, have an option -- turn off cookies. That's minimally what this type of article is about: informing people so they can make a choice. (I certainly wasn't aware that this was going on...)

Can I avoid these scanners if I so choose? Well, I can choose not to drink in places that use them, but might that eventually mean choosing not to drink? Besides, most companies that collect my personal info at least have to tell me what they're collecting, how they use it, how they share it, etc. Typically I can even opt out of most sharing of my info. Why not so with bars?

As to why you might care: Well, suppose you like to drink now and then. Suppose you want to get a job with a small company, run by a person who has religious objections to drinking. Suppose he now adds to his background check routine "see if the candidate drinks". Is that ok with you?

Good! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21990766)

No more irresponsible nigger DUIs!

Though, "irresponsible nigger" is a bit redundant.

And impact employment and insurance? (4, Insightful)

plopez (54068) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990770)

With this information employers could decide not to hire you if they felt you drank too much, in their opinion, or at all. Companies owned by fundamentalist christians, mormans or even muslims may decide to do this.

Additionally, insurance companies could drop you if they found out, for exaple, you were out drinking 3 nights a week.

If this info gets out it could have a huge impact on people.

Re:And impact employment and insurance? (5, Funny)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990884)

Companies owned by fundamentalist christians, mormans or even muslims may decide to do this.


Which is silly, considering alcoholic drinks were first conceived by holy men...

Re:And impact employment and insurance? (2, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991168)

Not only do you not have a reference to back that up, but it's also highly improbable.

I'm sure that humans would have discovered accidentally that sweet liquids contaminated with yeast produced alcoholic liquids far sooner than we had an understanding of what "alcohol" actually was. Well before we had language, much less than organized religion.

However I'm willing to admit that I'm speculating, as my post has a little in terms of references as yours...

Re:And impact employment and insurance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21990956)

Your sig says it all. Go back to 1850, you Luddite. One insurance company doesn't insure someone who drinks on record too often? Another one will. It's simple economics, if a business refuses customers (or refuses to hire employees) on truly baseless arguments, then they will suffer just as much as anyone else. Hell, you may have even heard about some companies not hiring people because they were black. Businesses, governments, individuals, etc professing nonsensical correlations with data (however it is gathered) will get weeded out of society.

Well, that's legal (1)

wsanders (114993) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990966)

As far as I know drunks and underage drinkers are not a protected class. Several companies will not hire you if you are a smoker, and it's legal for them to do so.

Re:And impact employment and insurance? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21990984)

So what? It will force people to drink less, or to stop drinking at all, which can only be a good thing.
Less drunks around, less accidents, less deaths. Yes, banning alcohol is an idea whose time has finally come.

Re:And impact employment and insurance? (1)

masdog (794316) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991012)

That depends on how the system is used to start with. Everywhere I've seen one of these types of machines used, it has been at the bar door to verify that your ID is legit. So if someone wanted to check, they would see that I make the bar rounds three nights a week, but anyone looking at just the information in that database wouldn't be able to tell if I had three waters, three sodas, or three beers.

You couldn't even tell if you cross-referenced with credit card information. One mixed drink might cost the same as two beers or four sodas, so anyone looking to use that info wouldn't be able to prove that the individual who went to the bar actually drank.

Even then... (1)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991122)


So, my regular $192 Tuesday night tab has five cokes, thirty-seven beers, four martinis, a dozen shots of tequila and a small pizza...just so happens the networking meeting falls on that night and I happen to like coke with my pizza.

Re:And impact employment and insurance? (3, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991138)

You couldn't even tell if you cross-referenced with credit card information. One mixed drink might cost the same as two beers or four sodas, so anyone looking to use that info wouldn't be able to prove that the individual who went to the bar actually drank.

They wouldn't know if they cross-referenced it with the information in the credit card company's database. But there's the information at the other end -- at the bar -- that they could easily get, if they have access to the information in the card scanner already.

Most upscale bars use electronic register systems for tracking tabs and ringing up bills; these show all the items that you've ordered, and then if you pay by credit card they have that as well. So it would just be a matter of going into the bar's computer and finding the bill associated with a certain credit card number (here's hoping they're only storing the last four digits...) and you've got that person's order for the evening.

Also, I'm not sure it's a safe assumption that the credit card company only gets the bottom-line data. On my American Express statements, there's sometimes fairly granular data available. In some cases food, drinks/bar, and tips are broken out separately. So obviously the restaurant's system is passing that data up to Amex when it runs the transaction. I haven't seen this on anything except Amex, but it proves the capability exists and is being utilized. (They also print the ticket or confirmation number of rail and plane tickets that you buy with your card, right on your statement, and sometimes the order number of some online stores as well.)

Re:And impact employment and insurance? (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991022)

So? What's wrong with that? Why shouldn't a company be able to decide such a thing? Should "Bob's Morman Supply" not be able to say something like that? Would about "Bob's Office Supply"?

It may be illegal now (the ACLU would certainly argue for that), but I don't see why a company shouldn't be able to do that.

This is all fine with me. I can understand why many people wouldn't want this, and I wouldn't push it. But if we keep records to make it easier to convict drunk drivers or people who aren't supposed to be drinking (like perhaps because of some prior conviction where that was made a condition of probation). Those are both fine for me.

Re:And impact employment and insurance? (1)

wakim1618 (579135) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991146)

Going to a bar often doesn't mean much in of itself. There are too many other factors and exceptions involved. Restaurants and sporting events both sell alcohol. Or I used to go out to bars and restaurants several times/week with friends after work ... although I usually don't drink any alcohol even at a bar.

On the other hand, I am already paying for my food and drinks with a credit or debit card anyway. Unless you are willing to put up with the hassle of paying for most things in cash, chances are that there is an accessible record of your eating, drinking and entertainment habits. Not public but accessible and there is probably a market already for such data on people with spending patterns or consumption habits matching x .

Re:And impact employment and insurance? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991148)

"With this information employers could decide not to hire you if they felt you drank too much, in their opinion, or at all. Companies owned by fundamentalist christians, mormans or even muslims may decide to do this.

Additionally, insurance companies could drop you if they found out, for exaple, you were out drinking 3 nights a week.

If this info gets out it could have a huge impact on people."

I've been worried for years that they can do the same...even MORE damage with the grocery store courtesy cards. With these, they can track all kinds of purchases...smokes, booze, crab treatments..etc.

I'm sure some enterprising person in the insurance industry by now has thought to try to buy this from the stores....and run it against their databases of people to look for dangerous, risky behavior by their insured.

We need to quickly pass some consumer privacy rights laws here, and shut down this industry that sells information about you to anyone. Hell, some states are STILL selling drivers license info to companies like Acxiom [acxiom.com] ...who track and store and sell your info to anyone that wants to buy it.

Buy your alcohol somewhere else (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21991294)

Vote with your wallet. Don't give your money to institutions that use the scanner.

Of course, sooner or later it will become a legal requirement that all alcohol-vendors use the scanner, which will suck.

In my opinion, the potentially legitimate uses for this scanner do not even come close to justifying the potential abuses.

Re:And impact employment and insurance? (4, Insightful)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991360)

Additionally, insurance companies could drop you if they found out, for exaple, you were out drinking 3 nights a week.

Yeah, man, I hate when they accurately judge my risk of an accident and prevent me from leeching off of safe drivers.[1]

[1] Assuming frequent drinkers really are more dangerous as per actuarial tables, which may or may not be true.

Target for Some Civil Disobedience (5, Interesting)

hardburn (141468) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990782)

I'm of legal drinking age already and I haven't yet seen one of these machines in my area. But if I ever do, I'd like to have a false bar graph taped on the back of my license. Who will be the first to make a web site to generate these at will? And how long until that web site is labeled a terrorist act?

Re:Target for Some Civil Disobedience (2, Interesting)

Rorschach1 (174480) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990926)

In California they use magstripe readers. Not that they can't be faked, but they take a little more equipment, and you can't really just paste one over the real stripe.

Re:Target for Some Civil Disobedience (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991024)

We get graphs here in Wisconsin (used to be magnetic strips). Incedently, an official change-of-address sticker covers the entire back of my license, so you couldn't read the graph, anyway.

Re:Target for Some Civil Disobedience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21991098)

The first thing I do when i get a new license is to demagnetize that strip...If I get a ticket, the cop will have to at least type in my information.

In California they use magstripe readers. Not that they can't be faked, but they take a little more equipment, and you can't really just paste one over the real stripe.

Re:Target for Some Civil Disobedience (2, Interesting)

internic (453511) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991174)

In California they use magstripe readers.

What happens if it gets demagnetized?

Re:Target for Some Civil Disobedience (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991370)

But you can erase the magnetic stripe rather easily. And it's plausible for it to get erased accidentally. Are they going to manually copy your information down / scan the card / refuse service because someone's card won't scan?

Re:Target for Some Civil Disobedience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21990934)

Not sure why'd you have to falsify a bar graph, though I'm not sure why you'd need one anyways.

Re:Target for Some Civil Disobedience (3, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991026)

But if I ever do, I'd like to have a false bar graph taped on the back of my license. Who will be the first to make a web site to generate these at will? And how long until that web site is labeled a terrorist act?

I don't follow your logic: not only do you not get your Manhattan, you get your ass tossed in jail for as long as it takes them to figure out that you really do have a valid ID. And they're liable to charge you for tampering anyway.

Yeah, that's really sticking it to Dick Cheney! Fight The Power!

Re:Target for Some Civil Disobedience (-1, Troll)

Libertarian001 (453712) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991050)

That is not civil disobedience; it's breaking the law. You were kind enough to tell us you're old enough to drink, which means you're old enough to vote. If you don't like something, go vote.

The only reason society works is because we all agree to abide by the rules. The reason that everyone (except fundamentalist Islam) is so gung-ho for democracy is because it is perceived to be the most fair because everybody has a choice. The only reason democracy works is because people agree to abide by results, i.e., they will accept a loss because they had a hand in the say-so process.

When you are specifically excluded from the process (after having reached your majority, but nice try playing the age card) THEN AND ONLY THEN can you claim civil disobedience.

Re:Target for Some Civil Disobedience (2, Insightful)

hardburn (141468) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991114)

I have some tea to sell you. It's at the bottom of Boston Harbor.

Re:Target for Some Civil Disobedience (5, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991300)

That is not civil disobedience; it's breaking the law.


Civil disobedience is nonviolent refusal to comply with a law or command of government, either because the law or command itself is perceived as unjust or because or because the government issuing the law or command is viewed as illegitimate independent of the merit of the particular law or command.

So "That is not civil disobedience; its's breaking the law" reveals a deep misunderstanding of the entire concept of civil disobedience. That's not saying one could not argue that the form of disobedience suggested is a poorly chosen and/or ineffective method of civil disobedience.

Re:Target for Some Civil Disobedience (2, Insightful)

PsychosisBoy (1157613) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991068)

Well, if the false information that comes from your barcode, and is displayed on their screen, doesn't match the information printed on the front of your license, the bartender might become suspicious. Best case, they don't serve you. Worst case, they call the cops.

Re:Target for Some Civil Disobedience (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991366)

No, what needs to happen is a little education of the public and then vote with your feet. I still will not enter a store because they use ID scanners. I have absolutely no problem driving out of my way to an Apple Valley liquor store to buy beer because they don't scan. I still tell them, every time, that I'm there because they protect my privacy.

Lakeville Liquors just built a new facility less than a half mile from my house. I walk by it daily and am proud that it joins the ranks of Starbucks as an establishment that I will never step foot in.

In addition, I have used a high powered earth magnet on my ID's magnetic stripe rendering it useless in any scanner including the cops (who asked me to get a new ID because it was "worn out"), the smoke shop (for cigars), or anywhere else that feels the need to scan ID.

If enough people realized what those machines did (I make sure to tell everyone around me when I see one being used before walking out) then businesses would stop using them because less people would enter the store. Sadly I'm dreaming about that because no one cares.

rights vs records vs privacy (1, Interesting)

Romancer (19668) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990784)

I'm all for personal privacy but I really can't see the loss of this sort of privacy outweighing the benifits of getting drunk drivers kept in jail or having a factual record for divorce hearings. When peoples safety and lives are at risk there needs to be some intelligent oversight of these issues but you can't have a blanket privacy enforcement. It just doesn't work. I think that a middle ground would apply, especially here. The database should require warrants and be overseen by a provacy advocate group as well as some seriously paranoid geeks for security. But the data should be there if required to prove innocence or guilt.

Re:rights vs records vs privacy (4, Insightful)

Lendrick (314723) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990864)

The database should require warrants and be overseen by a provacy advocate group as well as some seriously paranoid geeks for security. But the data should be there if required to prove innocence or guilt.
That's all well and good if we could ensure that it would be used in only this way, but the sad reality is that a system like this will almost certainly be abused. The minimal benefit a system like this may provide isn't worth the risk of abuse.

Re:rights vs records vs privacy (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990930)

The database should require warrants and be overseen by a provacy advocate group as well as some seriously paranoid geeks for security. But the data should be there if required to prove innocence or guilt.
you mean like wire taps right?? sure it starts out that way.. but it ends with, well you know what is going on..

give them an inch they take a mile and then drag you down it by your tounge

Re:rights vs records vs privacy (4, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990990)

That's pretty ridiculous. You could make the same argument about any data. Just think: if we put a GPS receiver and a radio transponder in everyone's car, we could compile all sorts of interesting data! We'd be able to tell if someone was speeding or driving aggressively, if they commit a hit-and-run, if they're cheating on their spouses ... heck, we could even get rid of all those traffic helicopters. Does anyone think that's not a really fucking terrible idea? It would be an unbelievable mass invasion of privacy.

Lots of information has the potential to be useful. That's not enough, by itself, to invalidate the very serious privacy concerns.

Anytime you start collecting information in advance, "just in case," you're fundamentally doing something wrong. You're treating innocent, honest people like criminals in order to make life marginally easier for the cops. If that's what people in law enforcement say they need to succeed, then we need to fire them and get some more innovative law enforcement, and give them better resources -- not twist our society around backwards in order to make their jobs easier.

Re:rights vs records vs privacy (2, Interesting)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991314)

If we put a GPS receiver and a radio transponder in everyone's car, we could compile all sorts of interesting data!

You mean like a cell phone?

Look this whole thing is sour grapes, just because something could be misused doesn't mean it will. Bruce Schneier isn't even concerned that this is an issue, which I take to be a first.

Credit cards, ez-pass, cell phones, and supermarket club cards all give you greater exposure.

Re:rights vs records vs privacy (1)

tcc3 (958644) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990992)

{sarcasm}

I'm all for civil liberties, but theres dangerous terrorists on the loose who want to destroy our way of life. What's the loss of a few freedoms as long as were safer / being protected? Thinks like habeus corpus and search warrants and right to speedy trial and reprentation only protect bad people anyway. If you haven't done anything wrong what have you got to fear?

{/sarcasm}

Re:rights vs records vs privacy (4, Insightful)

masdog (794316) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991082)

The problem is that this system will only be able to prove that you were in the bar, not that you were actually drinking.

Re:rights vs records vs privacy (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991220)

I'm all for personal privacy but I really can't see the loss of this sort of privacy outweighing the benifits of getting drunk drivers kept in jail or having a factual record for divorce hearings.

Whoawhoawhoa there. Divorce hearings? You think it's a good idea for your entire drinking history to be brought up in a divorce hearing? That sounds to me like the most abusive application possible for this data.

Sheltered from consequences (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21990788)

Well obviously part of the reason for this is lawsuits. Now should someone who drinks and acts irresponsabily have the right to be anonymous?

Re:Sheltered from consequences (1)

toolie (22684) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990878)

Should somebody who goes to a bar with friends have the right to anonymity? They are not recording who is drinking, they are recording who enters the place with the scanner.

Should the person hanging out as the DD have their information recorded just because you think it will stop people who drink and then acting responsibly from being anonymous (and probably able to prevent that behavior in the future)?

Re:Sheltered from consequences (0)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991282)

"Well obviously part of the reason for this is lawsuits. Now should someone who drinks and acts irresponsabily have the right to be anonymous?"

Until you break a law......yes.

That's why (4, Funny)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990792)

That's why I just keep a still running and do all of my drinking alone in the dark. I even use a tin cup to match my hat.

Re:That's why (1, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990922)

If it ain't distilled from pine cones and stored in an old paint thinner can, it ain't true party liquor!

Re:That's why (1)

glitterbug (1166539) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991350)

I make my own beer. It is easy and cheap.

Let me be the first to say.... (1)

billius (1188143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990812)

Bite my shiny, metal ass!

Easy workaround (3, Informative)

wiggles (30088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990814)

This is easy to work around -- just mark the bar code with a sharpie. The machine won't be able to read it, and they'll be forced to check your ID the old fashioned way.

Re:Easy workaround (2, Informative)

SoundGuyNoise (864550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990940)

Better to sand it or bleach it off. Less likely to be considered "tampering" with it, if it seems more like the bar code "wore off."

I don't see the problem (1)

Bobb Sledd (307434) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990818)

What's the problem? I don't drink, so I have nothing to hide.

Grrrrrr.... Funny: me as a db admin -- creating databases for a living -- but I sure am against other peoples' databases. Ain't it a hoot?

texas drivers license (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990826)

the bar code on your license uses an open, documented standard and can be rewritten to change your age or picture
My Texas drivers license doesn't have a bar code on it, but rather a magnetic strip. Does anyone know if that's a documented standard as well?

Re:texas drivers license (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990994)

Careful, bro. Tampering with it could get you the death penalty.

Re:texas drivers license (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991218)

http://www.oag.state.tx.us/opinopen/opinions.php?headingID=36 [state.tx.us]

"Magnetic stripe information contained on driver's license may be used only by law enforcement and other government personnel acting in official capacities"

Re:texas drivers license (1)

mshannon78660 (1030880) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991344)

Cool - I live in Texas, and I'm amazed to see they got that one right!

They should make the database public (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990858)

My fraternity brothers are all married and I STILL NEED DRINKING BUDDIES!!!

Marketing (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990862)

And some businesses use this information to add to their marketing mailing lists. I know people who start getting snail mail spam from bars after their drivers license is scanned.

DUI? (3, Insightful)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990894)

Wouldn't the driver's BAC be the "smoking gun" in most DUI cases?

The evidence of an alcohol purchase isn't going to be remotely sufficient to convict without a BAC test, and the presence of a BAC test alone should be more than sufficient to produce a conviction. I honestly don't see where the purhcahse record could hypothetically fit into the equation.

If there's an argument for or against ID scanning, this isn't it. Even from the cops' perspective, this isn't even going to help them 'nab the bad guys' any more than they're already equipped to do.

Papers, please?

Re:DUI? (1)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991084)

Additionally, its could be against the bars best interest. Many states have "Server Liability" laws. If I drink at "The Beer Hole" leave visibily drunk then cause property damage/manslaughter the bartender and establishment can be held accountable.

That's why I only drink at seedy bars (5, Interesting)

p5linux (764567) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990896)

Don't go to those 'high tech' places. Go to the real gin joint down the street. Besides once you are a regular at a place they don't card you. I went to a place that rhymes with Drasy Conky on rte 110 in amityville, NY that had one of those machines. Next thing I know I'm getting all these advertisments for night clubs and bars sent to my home. Then my wife starts asking me all these questions about where I'm going. not cool.

Re:That's why I only drink at seedy bars (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991318)

Seems like the real seedy bars are the ones selling your information after they scan your license. Spam is coming full circle.

only capturing data on young'uns (1)

Spectre (1685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990910)

Driver's license checks aren't mandatory in the state I live in (Kansas) ... it's been 10 years or so since I've been asked to show my driver's license, with the only exception being to board a commercial airline flight.

So apparently these machines aren't being effectively used yet for any kind of tracking purpose, as they'd only be capturing data for people under the "apparent age" of about 25.

become a regular (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990918)

Real alcoholics shouldn't worry about this. If you become a regular at a bar, the bouncers will not ID you every time, because they know you are over 21.

Alternatively, you could powder your hair, but that makes it harder to pick up chicks.

Great idea (1)

SilverBlade2k (1005695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990924)

I personally don't drink, so I have nothing to worry about. If this is used to reduce drunk drivers or to find out what is the source of abuse, I'm all for it.

Isn't this somewhat overblown? (2, Insightful)

makaera (187078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990932)

1) Why is it assumed that entering a bar automatically implies that you were drinking?

2) I find it really dubious that employers would ever get access to this sort of information and I think that it is unlikely that they would be allowed to use it without being sued.

While the potential exists for all sorts of "big brother" type applications, I find most of these scenarios to be somewhat far-fetched.

Should've raise a few eyebrows (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990950)

When they started scanning your drivers licence when you drank. A little bit of vigilance could've seen this coming a mile away. Any time an institution has a new way to access personal data they will abuse it.

This is probably going to be coming over to the UK soon as well. They have become more tight on ID for clubs and bars to the point where only a specifically manufactured ID card, a drivers licence or a passport will do. Standardising ID is a precursor to this step.

May as well not go out (2, Insightful)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990952)

What's the point anymore? What with insane DUI penalties and rabid 'enforcement' bordering on entrapment, not to mention the publicity campaigns (posters all over town here saying, in big letters, "TWO DRINKS could MAKE YOU A FELON"), I've no desire to go to a bar. If I want to drink, I'll buy my liquor at a grocery store with a couple of $20s from my weekly 'petty cash' and I'll invite a couple friends over, or just drink alone. Sure, there's no playing pool or being hit on by drunk chicks, but there's also no loud, smelly football players drinking piss beer--that, and the prices are a lot better when I mix my own drinks.

Re:May as well not go out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21991196)

What's the point anymore? What with insane DUI penalties and rabid 'enforcement' bordering on entrapment, not to mention the publicity campaigns (posters all over town here saying, in big letters, "TWO DRINKS could MAKE YOU A FELON"), I've no desire to go to a bar.
Err, who says you have to drive to the bar? You could take public transport, call a cab, or even (shock horror) walk.

Oh, wait, this is the US. Sorry, I forgot you guys can't go anywhere unless it's in a car.

Re:May as well not go out (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991298)

What public transport?

And besides, they can arrest you for 'public drunkenness' if you're walking. Cabs are bloody expensive, but that would be an option--but really, it's just too much inconvenience. I'll just stay home and enjoy my whiskey in peace.

That's all well and good... (3, Funny)

carpe_noctem (457178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990954)

...but it won't stop me from taking 20$ from the kids standing behind the liquor store to buy them a case of PBR.

God bless their little, slightly drunk, souls.

No need for police to ask if you drank tonight. (5, Funny)

xC0000005 (715810) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990958)

Officer:"License and registration, please."
BEEP
"I see you had three martinis, two shots and bought a bloody mary for the dishwater blonde who dumped you to go to the park with the accountant."
You: "It tells you all that on my license?"
Officer: "No, I gave them a ticket for having sex in public while being ugly a few minutes ago. Now, step out of the car and put your hands behind your back."

Likely? (1)

Ungulate (146381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990970)

Likely? I do my fair share of drinking, and have never encountered an ID scanner outside of a convenience store, and I believe that they only read the magstrip and not the bar code. Unless these things are legally mandated, I can't imagine why a bar or restaurant would use one of these devices.

Re:Likely? (1)

boris111 (837756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991036)

To send you junk mail, and they *claim* to verify it's not fake id. Plenty of bars use 'em in Pennsylvania.

Records entering a Bar, not drinking (1)

fixer007 (851350) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990976)

Just because I go into a bar, doesn't mean I am drinking. What if I am the DD? This just has bad idea written all over it. The scanner should be using this for verification only, and nothing else.

End of anonymous anything (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990982)

That is the end goal, where you cant do *anything* without it being tracked in some government database.

Even if what you are doing today is legal, it may not be tomorrow, and they will want records of it to hold against you. At the very least it shows prior intent.

In Soviet Russia (5, Funny)

EllisDees (268037) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990988)

Err, no, in Ohio actually. Around here there are a few bars that have taken to scanning the magnetic strip in our drivers license. Lucky for me, I have a few of those super strong neodymium magnets and have completely negated said magnetic strip.

They usually give up after about 15 swipes.

aclu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21990996)

Everything's a violation of civil liberties according to an ACLU representative...

2D barcode (1)

SoundGuyNoise (864550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991002)

The bar code that looks like a Magic Eye picture is called a 2D barcode. There's mucho software out there that can decode and produce them.

I remember hearing in 2002 about this (4, Interesting)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991016)

On the radio the discussion was about east coast bars swiping information, lying to the patrons and telling them it was for security reasons, to prevent re-entry of banned or troublesome former-patrons.

(Me here forward:)

The thing was, they were promptly selling this information to other parties who reprocessed it as thank you offers, happy birthday offers, coupons, ads etc with extreme precision because these companies had ALL the necessary information to reduce the cost of marketing these people. It also gave these marketers a way of upping the price/cost of information these marketers wanted.

Later, when I moved to Oregon for a year, I saw the cashier at a convenience store actually SWIPING the card of someone buying alcohol and I think cigarettes (it's been a while, so it could be the reverse or the checking of purchase of both...).

That turned me off. I don't recall buying alcohol myself at that mart. What I think is stupid is swiping the ID of someone who obviously is well above 25 or 30, and doesn't appear to be wearing spy or makeup-artist appliances.

I guess then that people with passports (I don't know if stores will try to scan these and if they can't then decline/refuse the sale) can present them instead of their driver's license.

Somebody needs to come up with a two-or-three-part license/age-verification/right-to-vote device/card so that for clubbing and purchases not involving checks or credit, only NAME AND AGE/DOB appear.

Then, for big-ticket items, the second part (matching) has to be presented to provide ADDRESS (Current and maybe 5 previous or 5-10 years of previous addresses based on reconciled IRS & quarterly payroll records for working/retired adults).

The THIRD part would be for retirement/pre-retirement benefits/public assistance receipt and cash-out of stocks/purchase of property and so on, that don't need to be passed on to anyone except government/law enforcement.

Maybe I've blurred some areas, but I'm ALL FOR saying "SCREW YOU" to clubs, bars, and any place scraping information they have NO business obtaining, possessing or reselling. If they want to ban patrons, then use imagery/facial recognition equipment at the point of ejection or to replay tapes of a confused situation/melee.

Anyone reading headlines about bar bouncers participating in assaulting or stalking of patrons can easily see how this 2-3-part identification deprives nosy bar or shop employees from gleaning residency information on cash-only patrons. It could possibly even work for police identification situations when the police stop is a graduated information determination: First: verify the detainee is NOT who your on the lookout for. If name is STILL too close a match, ask the detainee to produce part two.

Same could work for other scenarios. Use your imagination.

Concept being used in VA for pseudoephedrine sales (1)

PhineusJWhoopee (926130) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991042)

Pseudoephedrine (a.k.a. "sudafed") has recently been a target of several state and federal laws, due to the fact that bulk quantities of pseudoephedrine can be used in the manufacture of methamphetamines. As such, the amount and frequency of pseudoephedrine purchases are now limited in many location by law.

Virginia requires that one show an ID and address, so that records can be kept on sales (presumably to track compliance with the amount and frequency limits.) In a typical store (e.g. grocery store pharmacy counter), this is done in a log book, which requires the sales drone to look at your license and write down the relevant info.

However, at least drug store chain now has a scanner that reads the barcode on the back of the driver's license.

On one hand, the information must be collected by law; having a cashier write down the info is a hassle and slows down the purchase. The scanner really helps accelerate the process (and probably helps with compliance, too.)

On the other hand...I certainly hate the idea that it's becoming that easy to collect personal information. At least with a driver's license scan, I know when data is being collected. RFID on the license...the horror!

ed

Moonshinin' (1)

boristdog (133725) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991184)

That does it, I'm just making my own moonshine in the basement and sneaking a flask into the bar.

"Just a Coke, please, I'm the designated driver!"

How long will it take? (1)

causality (777677) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991202)

When are we going to decide that government is on a need-to-know basis, and when it comes to shit like this, they don't need to know?

It's a shame that most people are so docile and sheeplike that they will shrug their shoulders and say "well I got nothing to hide." Of course, that's not a complete thought. The complete thought is "well I got nothing to hide, so something as prone to abuse as unnecessary surveillance of a legal activity is OK by me!"

Thank MADD and those like them (5, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991262)

Groups like MADD are the modern day puritans. They're not content with just protecting basic public order, but rectifying perceived personality flaws by using the state to remake society. MADD and those like them have never met a restriction on drinkers' rights they didn't find too onerous, short of the way that Sharia tends to punish drinkers.

I hate being reminded of the damage that alcoholics do as part of some stupid scheme to further erode basic rights. I grew up with an alcoholic father. Don't fucking remind me. There are only times I've nearly punched a girl in the face was when I had a proto-MADD member who didn't grow up in such a household piously get in my face saying that I didn't know what I was talking about WRT alcoholism and family life.

Legality of obscuring the barcode? (2, Interesting)

chiph (523845) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991280)

Yes yes, very few of you are lawyers, but I'm wondering what the legality of removing/obscuring the barcode so that it no longer scans.

The info is still there on the front of the license so a human can still read it (I swear I wasn't speeding, officer!). But you wouldn't end up as easily in the junk-mail databases.

Chip H.

I rewrote the magstripe on my license (4, Funny)

imuffin (196159) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991304)

After a liquor store scanned my license without even asking my permission, I got ahold of a magstripe writer and deleted the data on my license's magstripe and wrote over it with my credit card. Now when I go out I can use the same card to get past the bouncer and pay the tab. Sometimes they look at me funny when I present my license for payment, but when they run the card the transaction is always approved.

Civil Disobedience (1)

blhack (921171) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991320)

Just re-write the data on the card to say something more interesting. Everything is stored plaintext. Just leave the birthdate intact and you'll be good.

And when i say rewrite the date...of course I mean "create another novelty ID to be used for testing purposes only" ;-).

I thought they already did. (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991322)

...but this 'drinking record' could also create problems for people in civil and criminal lawsuits as proof of alcohol purchases in DUI cases or evidence of alcoholism in divorce lawsuits." I live in a certain town in Texas which is in a dry County. Any of the restaurants (Chilli's, Applebees etc... ) want to swipe your license when you order alcohol to ensure you are a 'member' of the private club (the way they get around the dry county bit.). It was made pretty clear to me by the locals when i arrived (in 2004) that if you get DUI the cops will use your purchases logged against your license in the DUI charge.

Do I have a problem with it? um, yeah. Can I do anything about it? nope. It's just par for the course living in the USA.

iD Software? (1)

Ryan Mallon (689481) | more than 6 years ago | (#21991352)

Anybody else read that as iD tech, as in the new naming scheme for iD software's game engines? It might put Jack Thompson, et al in a bit of a conundrum, on one hand computer games are training the kiddies to be murderers, but on the other hand they are reducing the drinking problem ;-).

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