About three years ago a group of friends and I were out at the local Bowling Palace for some strikes and drinks. Upon entering the bar, the bouncer grabbed my driver's license and swiped it through a card-reader before returning it to me and allowing entry. Three weeks later, I started recieving junk-mail from the Bowling Palace.

Fast-forward to a year later. Again with a group of friends, entering a local restaurant for drinks and dining. Inside, a pimply kid is taking IDs and swiping them through a similar reader that is generating paper receipts. Below his chair is a pile of dozens of receipts. I pick one up and observe it contains, among other things, the name and driver's license number of the person being scanned. When my turn comes to be scanned, I refuse. The kid says everyone gets scanned, even my 36-year-old self (my friends say I don't look a day over 40). I refuse again, as do several others in my party. I allow him to carefully examine my ID but not to scan it. He calls the manager.

I tell the manager I won't be scanned because of the 1) lack of security for my personal information (reciepts everywhere) and 2) I don't consent to be entered into their database. Manager says that the information isn't being recorded, the scanner is only for verification. I ask her how she can prove that. Manager says the information won't be used and I won't get mail. I continue to protest, she verifies my ID manually and allows entry.

I follow this with a series of emails to the manager of the restaurant. He tells me the state mandates the scanner and he has no choice in the matter. I say, fine, I'll take it up with them and ask him to provide me with the appropriate contact information. He does not provide this information. Research with the state is futile (typical bureaucracy). I observe that no other local restaurants or bars utilize these scanners.

Fast-forward again to this weekend. Attending a popular restaurant festival in the same town, we connect via cell with a number of friends and agree to meet in the festival's beer garden. As you surely expect by now, entry was barred by bouncers (of the same restaurant), wielding ID scanners attached to PDA's. I refuse to have my ID scanned and am told that "everyone gets scanned." I ask him why. I'm clearly of age and am willing to have my ID examined by a nearby police officer. He refuses, reiterating that "everyone gets scanned".

Since my party is inside, I ask the officer if I can enter temporarily to get my wife. He agrees. Once inside, I schnooker the bracelet guy to get an entry bracelet and stay inside. Everyone did not get scanned (nor did another in my party who followed my lead).

Are we as a society now comfortable providing identification for electronic entry into a database that contains, at a minumum, name, address, and driver's license numbers,for a transaction as simple as entry into a dining establishment? Are we willing to unwittingly "opt-in" to vendors' marketing when compelled to do so under the presumption of verifying our age? Considering the cost of identity theft ($56.6b in 2006), is the officers' reaction justified or naive?

RFIDIs this simply the beginning of the completion of the marketing circle where RFID tracks what you do, when you do it, how and with whom, and the messages that you receive all along the way? Have you "been scanned" and how was it positioned to you by staff — and was your visit followed by marketing materials? Or am I just paranoid? Should I be setting up an appointment for a tin-foil hat fitting?

I imagine a world where I have complete control of how my identity is used, and I am appropriately compensated for its use. I am fine with letting marketers track my behavior, tastes and preferences, but I want to be compensated for it. I would happily be the "boy in the bubble" and have every purchase, TV show, radio program, mp3, shopping trip, restaurant selection, web site visit, download, whatever, tracked. But, I know there's value to this and I want control. Crazy or forward-thinking?

James Wisdom updates:

Thanks for all the comments on this post. After seeing the numerous suggestions to "use a strong magnet to erase the stripe" I did some looking online regarding this idea. The consensus is that "common household magnets are not usually powerful enough" to wipe the (black) high coercivity stripe found on my ID (and most licenses and credit cards today). Some sources (and commenters) say the most reliable way to wipe the "HiCo" strip is by mechanically damaging the strip itself. So, it appears I have an experiment on my hands — to discover:

1. If a strong magnet bought online will wipe the strip, and if not,
2. What mechanical means could to be employed to do so.

But let me say that I find this technique of addressing the practice of unnecessarily swiping of identification to be marginal. While it succeeds in the purpose of withholding my information, it fails in letting the vendor understand that there are good reasons why this practice shouldn't be happening in the first place. Regardless of the results of this experiment, I will continue to object vociferously whenever I encounter this practice, and I appreciate your doing the same.

Thus, follow me now as I seek out a card-reader and strong magnet. It turns out that card-readers can be had for about $50 on eBay. I also discovered a number of intriguing "portable" card readers for sale. One might wonder what sort of vendor would need a portable card reader that stores its password-protected information for later retrieval? That's because the main purpose of these devices is for thieves to swipe your card and collect the data in the process of a regular business transaction. EG waitress swipes card at her restaurant reader for dinner, then swipes the card through her own card reader for later enjoyment — a practice known as "skimming."

For magnets, I purchased several "high energy Rare Earth Neodymium" magnets from Amazing Magnets (which I had seen recommended on Instructables and elsewhere).

Once I receive my goodies a new update will be posted with my findings.

As a side-note, along the way I came across an Instructables article describing how to decode the barcode on your driver's license. Out of curiosity I did so and was pleased to see that the barcode of my driver's license only contains the same information as is found on the front of the license (not my SSN). it's a fun activity for paranoids and requires only a scanner, a photo editing program, and a computer. The program in the article didn't work for mine but if you look in the comments another is linked that did the trick.

Dave Smith writes:

Scanning of IDs has been around for some time now. When I left the industry a few years back, DL scanners were just coming of age. Regardless of whether there is a mag stripe , the scanner will attempt to scan all the text, using OCR technology, as well as your picture. An ID scanner will be loaded with a template from each state that will funnel the information into the proper database fields. These scanners are huge time savers when issuing college IDs. If you've ever stood in line waiting to get a school ID (15+ years ago) you know what I mean. At first, the industry didn't get much resistance and people thought the technology was pretty neat.

Nowadays I'd never let my ID knowingly be scanned, although there is some legitimacy to getting your ID scanned at a bar or drinking establishment though. Bar owners today face a certain amount of liability if they serve alcohol to a minor, or a drunk patron. Say the minor gets drunk, leaves and takes out a telephone pole on the way to the next bar. He claims he showed ID and the bar served him alcohol. The bar can now go back and check their scans and validate the claim. Usually, even if somehow the ID fooled the scanner, the bar owner wouldn't be held accountable. Or if the minor or patron was at Bar A, got smashed, left and got pulled over and told the police he was at Bar B or C. The owners of B and C check their scans and find no records. Bar owners B and C are cleared. Some bars have only an age verification scanner that will record the scan, storing only the DL number, then flash a green or red light indicating a valid ID.

RFID is still too expensive for the masses but technology does exist that requires only that the card be on your person. IDs are scanned by just walking through a scanner, as at WalMart. More and more, though, because people feel violated by the ID scans, bar owners are installing high quality video surveillance systems. A picture is worth 1000 words!





Speak your mind

70 Comments so far

  1. Andres Lozano on September 25, 2007 11:22 am

    As a business student in college I discuss many issues and interesting topics with my professors. My business law professor was telling us about this phenomenon called the frog in the kettle effect. It states that a frog tossed into a kettle with boiling water will jump out immediately. However, a frog placed in a kettle that then has the water temperature brought to a boil slowly will stay in the kettle until eventually it dies. Her words caught my attention immediately. She proceeded to point out to us how often we are taken advantage of in business practice in our current times yet it is considered normal. Many things that were not considered ethical in business are now acceptable. Misleading information, miles of fine print that your average citizen wouldn’t understand even if he they did read, at least not without a lawyer there to interpret the purposely complicated language. We are that frog in the kettle, and they are turning up the temperature little by little.

  2. Victor Andino on September 25, 2007 3:41 pm

    Thanks for standing up for yourself and not marching like the other lemmings and allowing your information to be seized without an example. I’ve never experienced this type of ID-grab as you describe, but I have been just as obstinate when my personal information is demanded. It’s great knowing I’m not alone in this!

  3. Dan Kaleem on September 25, 2007 8:15 pm

    Identity theft is an issue in and of itself, but what most people do not realize is that while related, it is a separate problem from reputation theft (or reputation management as it were).

    While you may be concerned about the theft of your identity for nefarious or unsanctioned use, it is really the reputation theft that is of real concern. When your reputation is in jeopardy - then it’s the myriad number of issues (from credit to simple things like the junk mail you are receiving) that become of issue.

    There’s some academic research in this field, but more interesting is to see what kind of companies are working in this. I recall a few that seem to be working on identity (especially online; Microsoft and Google to name a few), few people are working on reputation. The best company I can find, to date, is an outfit based out of Boston called TrustPlus.



    PS - it’s always amusing to push the limits with bouncers. I spent all of Monterey car week figuring out which events I could bounce into.

  4. Shandooga on September 26, 2007 12:27 pm

    Marketing is evil. If you are happy to be a pawn on a corporate owned board, then you are party to your own destruction. There much more at stake than marketing and money. I suggest getting fitted for that tin-foil hat right away; it will keep the stupidity rays out.

  5. ironic on September 26, 2007 7:44 pm


  6. MarcusBrutus on September 26, 2007 8:52 pm

    Here’s a possible solution to your problem:
    1)Acquire one of those scanners that attach to your mobile phone, I believe nextel makes one called “RoadRunner”
    2)Create (or buy) a java application that can read ID cards.
    3)Take it with you next time you expect to be carded.
    4)Refuse to be scanned unless both the doorman and the manager submit their ID’s to be scanned by you.

    Inform them that they have no more authority than yourself to use the information encoded in ID cards, if they let you scan their ID’s, imply that they’ll be receiving “opt in” mail in the near future.

  7. Michael on September 26, 2007 10:42 pm

    That is an outstanding post. It seems that this sort of thing is becoming more common. I, like you, detest it and refuse to cooperate with it. Perhaps the already ham-handed (and small of mind) feel encouraged to do this sort of thing by the anti-rights antics of Mssrs. Bush and Cheney. I am hoping (but not holding my breath) for a reversal following the 2008 elections. Thanks again for the article.

  8. GEORGE on September 27, 2007 4:43 pm

    1984 sir, welcome to NWO.

  9. Dan Butler on September 27, 2007 8:52 pm

    It’s not gonna change until everyone gets together and decides enough is enough. Being forward-thinking - or paranoid, for that matter - won’t change anything unless the *majority* is forward-thinking (or paranoid…)

  10. Acetrader on September 28, 2007 10:25 am

    Are you serious? You really think getting "scanned" at a bar is going to HURT/RUIN/Lessen you quality of life? Don't forget the black helicopters! Jeez, and there is that tired "its all Bush and Cheney" argument….stay tuned, sir, for when the next president is in office you will still get "scanned"….I will be selling tin hats of Ebay for those of you who need them soon!

  11. David on October 2, 2007 7:12 pm

    Kudos for standing up for yourself.

    If you don’t exercise your rights you will lose them.

  12. Tide-Laden on October 11, 2007 3:59 pm

    Not crazy, forward-thinking.

    Although I am not a citizen of the US, I’m your neighbor to the north. I am completely against any kind of mandatory and unnecessary personal information recording. I would highly suggest you find information on this “LCB” and either rally support and have them change this supposed policy, or commit heinous acts of sabotage on them.

    Let’s try our hardest to prove Orwell wrong.

  13. rockAteer on October 11, 2007 4:33 pm

    Well, I’m intrigued by your willingness to value your personal information. Suppose you are compensated for the surrender of your info at the “point of sale” (the Id scan). Where does the info go from there? Suppose the info getter agrees to a restrictive privacy usage? Now suppose the info getter sells out/bankrupts to a third party who feels no compunction to honor the former owner’s privacy policy? What then, control seeker? Where do you complain when the checks stop coming? You’re nuts.

  14. Ellis on October 11, 2007 4:36 pm

    Just take a strong magnet and run it across the magnetic stripe on the back of your license. They can scan it all day and it won’t ever read again. I did this as soon as I got my latest license and haven’t been refused entry anywhere because of it.

  15. Keith Parrish on October 12, 2007 3:55 am

    We have those in california as well here and there. I refuse 100% of the time. I won’t go back to a place that uses them and I telll them on the spot.

  16. Tony on October 12, 2007 9:28 am

    I think that you need to smoke less weed, it’s making you really paranoid. These establishments don’t give a rat’s ass about your personal information. They just don’t want to be busted for underage kids drinking in their establishment/s. There is a whole process involved in getting your information from the scanners to the marketeers. Most clubs understand the fine line that exists between verification and privacy, and they don’t want to open that can of worms either.

    Dude, settle down. Everythings gonna be ok, ok?

  17. Tegan on October 12, 2007 11:55 am

    I have a vaguely similar experience with “getting scanned”. I’m a college student from Atlanta going to school in Cincinnati. In Georgia, our licenses don’t have the magnetic stripe, but they have a barcode of sorts. The Ohio licenses have the stripe. I went to CVS to buy some allergy medication a couple weeks ago, so I grabbed the card for the medication I needed and took it up to the pharmacy counter. I handed the pharmacist the card and my ID. He takes my ID and tries to run it through a scanner, but of course it didn’t scan. I told him that the Georgia licenses don’t scan since they don’t have the magnetic stripe, and that he’d need to enter it manually if he needed to verify it. He said this system was the only way he knew and refused to sell me allergy medication simply because my out-of-state license wouldn’t scan.
    I then went across the street to Walgreen’s and was able to purchase the medication after just letting the pharmacist look at my ID :)

  18. Anonymous on October 12, 2007 3:29 pm

    I agree. Not crazy at all, it is not even forward thinking, unfortunately. We should be given the option or compensated or both.

  19. Anonymous on October 12, 2007 3:43 pm

    Does your driver’s license have a magnetic strip on it for purposes of scanning ? If so, then just pass a powerful magnet over it, several times, rendering it unreadable. Then you won’t have to think twice about letting the door screener scan it.

  20. Wez on October 12, 2007 4:57 pm


    The society we have is hoping you will feel the greed factor an let this be done. Stop thinking for youself an you will see that even if with small term benefits that in the long term to you will just giving these companies even more reason to do this because people such as youself are fine with this because your stuck in the greed cycle of death. Remeber money makes the world go round but that is what is killing us the real version is love makes the world go round. An were running out of that.

    p.s i have had a few beers tonight so my grammar is poor but see beyond the grammar an see the message

    night all

  21. John on October 12, 2007 5:40 pm

    george Orwell was right

  22. Marty the kid on October 12, 2007 5:55 pm

    Lucky me that I live in Sweden. But, I’m not at all surprised. US is a country where “everyone gets scanned”.

  23. Robert on October 12, 2007 6:31 pm

    Unfortunately the only way to protect everyone else’s privacy is to demand the protection of your own. If you want future generations to be able to maintain some level of privacy, then you will simply have to put your foot down and refuse to release your details unless legally required to do so.

  24. Douglas on October 13, 2007 12:47 pm

    I too guard my privacy. Enough of our freedoms have been taken. A mistake by a data entry clerk can virtually destroy a persons life. These mistakes often require years and thousands in legal fees to rectify.
    Scanning I usually take a surly attitude and ask if they would appreciate it if I stuck their scanner where the sun don’t shine. Seldom does anyone try to insist after that. Perhaps a bit much but quite effective.
    Reading the comments it is good seeing that others also wish to maintain their privacy. Americans are being taught to accept whatever “authorities” tell them without question. This can undermine our entire future as a nation.

  25. Sonya on October 13, 2007 1:00 pm

    It’s scary, everyone is so used to NOT taking such things ‘personal’. These people are trained to approch you when you’re intoxicated and a free lighter sounds good (just give up your identity). I’ve seen these ’scans’ at clubs, mostly for Camel or Marlboro Cigs registries, they go as far as asking for your ss#, zip codes for the last 5 years you’ve lived. The ‘Moe’ taking in this info - is who? and what could he do with all this info? You might as well post it at the door - you dont know him/her. It’s as personal as it gets - and doesn’t make sence really.

  26. Phil UK on October 13, 2007 10:04 pm

    Don’t eat there! man I would have thought that was obvious to an (i presume) american. The power of Money in a capitalist society has more power than u think, if you don’t eat there and make sure you shout quite loudly why your not eating there then u have done your bit.!

  27. Phil UK on October 13, 2007 10:40 pm

    Oh P.S.
    I do quite a bit with PC’s and you do not need much to fingerprint people. For example:-

    “A lady was convicted recently as you may have read for P2P sharing and fined what amounts to a lifeterm of debt.”

    Now for whatever your side of the playing field you sit on on this, the point I found interesting is one piece of evidence submitted to the court was the password she used at the torrent website matched others she used at other websites. How, in a free society was they able to cross reference this information.

    Your personal data is the MOST precious thing you possess nowadays and if your wise you do what I have been doing since I started using the net, a ZERO tollerance of sharing my personal data anywhere, period. Unless I have to and then only minimum.

    Talk on the town is of CD disk sized disks that are able to store 200 DVD’s of information on one disk. Your Data is going nowhere! what you say and type now will come back to haunt you one day.

  28. Clay Brasher on October 14, 2007 2:37 pm

    Will you also discontinue use of credit cards and debit cards? These contain the same type of information. There are trade-offs for everything. Some people feel comfortable trading privacy for convenience but others don’t. It should be up to consumer, however, and it is until all establishments begin using these. Until then, choose a different restaurant/bar.

  29. windell on October 14, 2007 11:32 pm

    Is the picture of the barcode on the hand really a joke? I think they call it gallows humor-laughing in the face of something scary. This is the beginning of the sheeple.

  30. Mike on October 15, 2007 3:27 am

    I believe the ability to track us is already in place. It’s not that I’m a paranoid it’s just every time the FBI tracks a person down they use his driver’s license and credit card use. My biggest problem to being “scanned” is that their is no information control and the merchants seem to be willing and able to sell it to third parties that want to spam me with trash. I say avoid being scanned if possible and just don’t go to the places that demand to scan being sure to tell them why.

  31. lynx on October 15, 2007 8:58 am

    fortunately, the magnetic strip on a drivers liscense is not actually legally required for anything, it’s just there for our “convinience”; meaning that you can’t get in trouble for taking a powerful magnet and wiping it clean so it’s unreadable. they can try to scan it after that but it won’t scan, and as long as it’s a valid ID they won’t have any grounds for not letting you go where you’re going. liquer stores will have to enter the drivers license number manually, but most other places won’t bother. which saves you and me the hassle of refusing and explaining why we refuse every time.

    if they’re going to compile massive databases and make us, as you put it, bubble boys, at least make the bastards do a little work and enter the info manually…

  32. Jim Jupiter on October 15, 2007 4:37 pm

    I wouldn’t really mind receiving mail from a local business. I don’t mind being in the loop when it comes to fellow business people going about their business offering goods and services. However, if it did offend me I’d probably contact the establishment and have my name taken off the list. It certainly is your right to attempt being admitted to local establishments without being scanned. It’s also your right to avoid giving them your business if they won’t honor your wishes. If enough people complain they may stop the practice, but I find it highly unlikely that would happen considering most people’s addresses are freely available in the local telephone directory anyway without too much paranoia about it.

  33. anonymous on October 15, 2007 7:04 pm

    if scanning people would become common practice out here, most europeans would pass a powerfull magnet over their drivers licence

  34. Kelandry on October 16, 2007 12:03 am

    Sounds like a book I read called the Barcode Tattoo. It presented a very depressing future in which the government can track your every move and it can decide if you are worthy to live or not, based on DNA samples collected at the time you got the tattoo. I think that maybe the author saw what you have seen, because the book was set in 2021. I also think that we have to take a stand for what we believe in and not let the government and authority figures dictate how we live and think. I am not saying that we should have anarchy, but that “Big Brother” has gone too far and we should STOP him.

  35. richard on October 16, 2007 12:27 am

    You’re surprised? Forty years ago when a very “liberal” friend worked on the first police car computers, I got and continue to be, very scared. Not for me, but for my grand kids. There have ALWAYS been creepy people interested in your private life. The safety was that they had to work hard to find out about you. NOW IT’S EASY. I am an upstanding citizen salt of the earth type but I ASSUME they’re listening and watching and give as little out as possible. Just for my own comfort. Not enough people will ever protest the cameras and credit card and internet tracking to discourage it. Was I the only one who heard Robert Gates (CIA) testimony when he commented that maybe things are too complicated these days for the Constitution? Woe unto the non conformist in years to come. You had better behave in an approved manner!!

  36. geodevlin on October 16, 2007 1:13 am

    Just run a magnet over the strip on your license, it wipes everything!

    I can’t believe no one said this before. Its the first thing I do with a new license.

  37. Iris Joe Kelley on October 16, 2007 10:39 pm

    I agree with you. I would refuse to be scanned also. I already quit shopping at Wal-Mart because they will not check credit cards to see who is really using them. I refuse to give my Social Security number for ID purposes or for check cashing purposes. Electronic scanning of drivers licenses for age verification is nuts and overkill. I believe you have it correct that it is just a ploy to gather info on our whereabouts.

  38. Frank Csorba on October 17, 2007 7:54 am

    I agree with your assesment 100%. It is absolutely unsafe to be providing information like that, especially when this practice is not regulated by the government.

  39. Stacie on October 17, 2007 11:40 am

    I used to work in a convenience store in a college town. I would see out of state ID’s every day…and there was no way that I could memorize what each state’s ID was supposed to look like. I needed to be scrupulous about who I sold to, because the fine would come out of MY paycheck if I sold to a minor. I would scan or swipe out of state IDs just to verify their validity. This information went no farther (at least I was told this) than the machine. It was not stored and it didn’t produce a receipt. It just helped me be able to verify the age of the person that I was selling to.

    I have to say, I agree with the idea behind the post. I don’t want my identity stolen, and I don’t like the idea that all of my personal information can be gleaned through my social security number. What I think is funny is that a lot of people who have posted here have left their first and last names. Instead of bitching on a post, why don’t we all contact our representatives?


  40. David on October 17, 2007 3:00 pm

    I have had a similar experience when entering a few of the local bars, as soon as I present my license, it is held up to a window, then there’s a flash & a photocopy of my license is made before I can even protest. I do not return to these places, it’s bad enough that our movements & purchases can be tracked through credit/debit cards used at stores, restaurants & gas stations. For this reason, I like to deal in cash as much as possible. Although I doubt that anyone would ever be interested, I don’t want a profile of me to be data mined through purchases & video rentals. The only upside is that there’s so much data collected that there is not currently an easy way of processing it.

  41. bThorough on October 17, 2007 7:00 pm

    You can use a razor or small flame to cause enough damage to the magnetic strip on your ID that it will not be readable by scanners. I have not tested this one; try rubbing a strong magnet along the magnetic strip. This may make it unreadable as well.

  42. Hollie on October 18, 2007 10:49 pm

    I think this is alarming! I have not encountered this sort of scanning (yet), and I think refusing to take part is indeed the best possible action. If they refuse your entry, well, surely there must be other places to eat & drink. Maybe if enough people get pissed off, they will rethink their ‘policy’.
    On point of being compensated, it is a good idea, but I’m at a loss as to how to enforce it. In a related situation, I do not wear anything with visible logos, because I will not advertise for companies without being compensated. I know such compensation will never happen, but its my personal way of protesting the logo/”corporateness” of the world now.
    This swiping is just grotesque and wrong however. Honestly, there should be a law against it. Until such a time though, the world needs more questioning and discerning folks like yourself.
    Good luck to all of us!

  43. Scott on October 19, 2007 11:59 am

    I really appreciate what you had to say. Today’s world is a pretty scary place!

  44. brendan on October 19, 2007 12:02 pm

    You aren’t crazy.
    it’s not so much 1984 as Bladerunner, but it’s an obnoxious trend at the very least.
    I also refuse to give my phone number at the cash register–a question that has become very common in nyc. in each case, i just say, “no, i’d rather not.” and that is that. why? i don’t know, i just see no reason for them to ask, or to consider it automatically their business. it isn’t.

  45. Pete on October 19, 2007 4:41 pm

    If you’re not doing anything wrong, why do you care if they can track your activity? It’s the patriotic thing to do to forgo your personal privacy so that our economy can thrive and we can be protected from those who wish us harm. The marketing people who use this information know what they’re doing - increased profits for them will ultimately mean more jobs for us (yay!). If even one terrorist is caught due to advanced electronic tracking in our everday lives, then it is well worth it. When WWIII starts and the smoking gun comes in the form of a mushroom cloud, it will be the fault of people like you who only think of themselves and their precious civil rights. Fortunately, the rest of us will, at that time, be taken up into the sky by the invisible man in a white robe who loves us, and is all-powerful, yet needs our money.

  46. Mark on October 19, 2007 4:53 pm

    Revelation 13:16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their forehead. 13:17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 13:18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is six hundred and sixty-six.

    This could behappening soon

  47. Jason on October 19, 2007 10:10 pm

    deny the RFID implant!

  48. mooster on October 19, 2007 11:59 pm

    I’m curious, does anyone ever read the comments on the net before posting their own? How many people suggest using a magnet like they’re the first to suggest it here? One guy even “can’t believe no one said this before” after several had already posted the idea.

    Just wondering…

  49. KingLordSir on October 20, 2007 2:47 am

    Interesting and informative.
    Thank You

  50. mel on October 20, 2007 5:41 pm

    I would like very much so to hug you, sir.

  51. nancy on October 20, 2007 7:02 pm

    You are right on. Our right to privacy is being taken away day by day. Thanks for standing up to them and refusing to be scanned. I had not heard of this but when it happens to me–and I have to believe it will, I, too, shall refuse.

  52. spaztech on October 20, 2007 9:58 pm

    I got scanned buying some Crown Royal at a local liquor store.. I wasn't told that it was going to be scanned, I handed her my ID and she just scanned it.. I was so livid I smashed the bottle of Crown across her face, stole the register (along with the scanner) and took her purse. We have to stand up to these assh0les or more people are going to get smashed in the head and robbed.

  53. unknown on October 21, 2007 3:30 am

    Not sure if anyone remember, but I must be really old cause Nostradamus stated we would end up being bar-coded. Pretty scary thought.
    My husband refused to be opted-OUT, because when he tried to, they wanted all sorts of other information from him and their number one supporter was a marketing firm. -rolls eyes

    We are being over-taken by mob mentality. :(

  54. Katy on October 21, 2007 3:31 pm

    Weird! that’s never happened to me anywhere. I would refuse, too.

  55. Brad on October 21, 2007 4:25 pm

    you’re in your right mind, man.

  56. Adam on October 21, 2007 9:08 pm

    Just keep refusing.




    And encourage others to do likewise.

  57. Jim on October 21, 2007 11:10 pm

    I once read, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they are NOT trying to get you.” I say there’s nothing our capitalistic society won’t do to make a buck! No doubt the info gathered by swiping a drivers license can and will be used against you.

  58. Christopher on October 22, 2007 12:09 am

    What an excellent blog post!

    Other countries don’t do this, but it is becoming a national US epidemic, and worsening in Australia.

    Rights? Where? When? What? who…

    “Shoot them they have a water bottle!”


  59. Dave Smith on October 22, 2007 1:30 am

    PS- The barcode picture on the hand is neat. The company I worked for used a picture of a short portly man with a bar-code tattooed across his forehead!

    Here is some info on a similar scanning product:

  60. John B on October 25, 2007 10:19 pm

    Thank you so much for the fine article, Mr. Wisdom.
    Your finds have caused me to substitute carrying around my passport in place of my driver’s license when frequenting the bars.

    Thanks, Wiz.

  61. Frank O. Simmons on November 3, 2007 9:34 am

    I don’t know what kind of places are being visited here but I don’t think I would let them scan my DL … having just completed living in Key West for one year and going to each and every restaurant and bar there I did not have my DL scanned once nor my wife. This must be in regards to a younger demographic situation where the places get jammed up with people like in a sardine can. How does WalMart have the right to scan me when I go inside? Is all this constitutional … oh, I guess, because NSA does listen to our cell calls I think … Bush and DeLay okayed all that years back. This is a good site.

  62. jasmine on December 17, 2007 5:10 am

    This article is really interesting & informative. Thanks for sharing it!

    jasmine, tech-chek.blogspot

  63. because i giva damn on December 19, 2007 1:18 am

    driving and spending are what americans are expected to do. So the driver's license and credit/bank cards are probably the first to lose. It's healthier, too!

    thanks for shaking some of us up. I'm sure I'm not the only one here to rethink how I share with others. :)

    Just for encouragement, I've happily lived four years now without a car, license, nor any plastic cards! You can do it! Walk/ride a bike/take public transport and buy what you can afford. It'll add some years, I'm sure.

  64. the crazy parrot on January 17, 2008 1:02 am

    They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. — Benjamin Franklin. This should be posted everywhere! Half the things our government has done in the last seven years have been unconstitutional, however my personal favorite example of capitalism in action is the fact that warrantless wire tapping was stopped, not because it was immoral or unconstitutional, but because the Federal Government and the FBI didn't pay their phone bill.

  65. lee on February 2, 2008 10:31 pm

    as a freeman and a combat vet. i think we are slowly being pulled in to the old and new nazisum. if you know you history about what Hitler did before the war broke out you will find the same thing that happened there is starting to happen to us. yes you will say no way man but do some digging and you will find what i am saying is true. how long before we go to camps and never to be heard from again. you say this can’t happen in this country and you might call me a ranter but the truth is there for you to find. i ask you to consider what i have just put down. when a man or group of people say with one voice we will stay free you are considered and ratical and a racist. think about whats going on now my friends and open your eyes before it is to late.

  66. RockT on February 26, 2010 4:15 pm

    I dont like the sound of anyone being able to track where i go what i do even if it is legal kinda sounds like the mark of the beast

    ps im no conspiritor lol just saying

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  69. Jonathon on October 31, 2011 10:37 pm

    While I’m totally in agreement with you that bars and restaurants have no business scanning your ID for any reason other than their convenience, and that one can and probably should make them verify the information manually. However, I do work for a retail company and there is one instance where we do require the scan of an ID which is not mandated by law and for good reason. At my company if you return an item, we will scan and keep record of that information for the purposes of loss prevention. The reasons for this being over the years we’ve simply lost too many hundreds of thousands of dollars to people returning stolen merchandise, merchandise that was purchased second-hand, or “renting” merchandise, etc. This enables us to look back and say “Okay, hey, you bought this, here’s your refund.” Or “Hey, you’ve got a typical return pattern, even though I’ve never seen you before maybe this was a gift, here’s your refund.” Or instead to notice “So I see here you’ve never purchased anything, ever. Yet you’ve made 50 returns this year.” Lacking that ability, our only other recourse would be to pass the huge costs of these losses to honest customers in the form of price increases. Rather than keeping track of all this information ourselves which again, costs us money that we’ll have to add to the prices of products, it’s much more cost effective to have this handled by a third party that gives us a machine we can use to scan, and they maintain a database of known abusers for ourselves as well as other major merchants. Everything about this is to make returns an easier quicker experience and allow good honest customers to avoid undue scrutiny. What I’m getting at with this is there are many situations in which I wouldn’t present my ID to be scanned. But consider the situation and ask for a reason on why this is necessary (as the original author did) before making judgement on the practice. There is not an option to decline the scan and have us enter the information manually, simply because we cannot interface with the third-party system this way (to prevent tampering by employees) and frankly, I’m not bothered by this. I’m inclined to do what’s necessary to protect my business, assets, and other customers, more than I’m inclined to take hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses to theft for your convenience. So again, just to reiterate, refuse when you can, but ask why and at least consider if there’s good reason. In some cases, the practice is there to help save you money and prevent impenetrable return policy fine print.

  70. crack head on April 10, 2014 5:38 pm

    just put electrical tape over barcode…should give you enough time to realize your being scanned


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