Saturday, February 21, 2004

Article: Great Taste, Less Privacy

The practice of swiping drivers' licenses is starting to get more and more attention. (See my blog entries: "Bar scheme could breach privacy rules"; "Ontario considering putting biometric data on drivers' licenses" and "Swiping drivers' licenses - instant marketing lists"). Privacy activitsts are paying very close attention to the practice.

Wired news, bless their hearts, has a story that illustrates how instrusive the practice may be.

Wired News: Great Taste, Less Privacy

By Kim Zetter - 02:00 AM Feb. 06, 2004 PT

A patron walks into a bar and orders a drink. The bartender asks to see some ID. Without asking permission, the barkeep swipes the driver's license through a card reader and the device flashes a green light approving the order.

The bartender is just verifying the card isn't a fake, right? Yes, and perhaps more.

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. "

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