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Drivers License Swipes Raise Privacy Concerns 313

Clubs in New York, New Jersey, and elsewhere are requiring patrons to give up their drivers licenses for a swipe through a card reader. Some bars do this too. The card reader displays their birth date and the establishments let it be assumed that the only purpose of the swipe is to check the customer's age. They rarely if ever disclose that the personal data stored on the license — the customer's name, address, license number, perhaps even height, weight, and eye color — go into a database and are retained, perhaps indefinitely. While a federal law forbids selling or sharing data from drivers licenses, there is no prohibition against collecting it. A few states have enacted such prohibitions — New Hampshire, Texas, and Nebraska. Privacy advocates warn that such personal data, once in a database, is bound to be misused. From the article: "'I don't see no problem,' said [a club-goer], 22. 'That happens every day on the Internet. Any hacker can get the information anyway.' [A Web media executive] said such reactions aren't surprising from a generation accustomed to sharing personal information on Web sites such as and 'The kids don't care,' [he] said, 'because only old people like you and me suffer from the illusion of privacy these days.'"
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Drivers License Swipes Raise Privacy Concerns

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The best defense against logic is ignorance.