St. Louis, Mo. (KMOX)Having a cashier check your identification is nothing new, but the way some retailers are doing it is raising eyebrows.

“Maybe this is benign, but it’s just very unsettling,” explains David Johnson.

David Johnson was at his local Target store and decided to pick up some wine. He was a little surprised when he was asked for his drivers license.

“And I got kind of amused by it being 60 years old (chuckles), that’s kind of cool… you know?”

But he started to lose his sense of humor when the clerk scanned it with the register. “And actually the register stopped,” explains Johnson, “it wouldn’t go any farther until the clerk had done this.”

It happened on another trip when he and fellow shopper Gary Poulsen tried to buy lighters. By this time it was raising red flags for both men.

“I thought, no, that’s just wrong. Now I’m really concerned. What information are they taking from me?” Questions Johnson.

“Now we’re wondering if Target is not just verifying identification, but if they’re gathering a database,” says Poulsen.

Both Illinois and Missouri drivers licenses include what are called 2D bar codes on the back. A spokesman for Missouri’s Department of Revenue says retailers can scan and store the same information that’s printed on the front (see more information from DOR below). In Illinois, retailers are only supposed to be able to access the name, date of birth and drivers license number yet a spokesman for the Secretary of State says there’s been a breech of encrypted addresses by one retailer in Chicago in the past.

A representative for Target wouldn’t go on tape but did respond with this statement: “Target has several processes that require our cashiers to scan a guest’s driver’s license or government-issued ID. These processes allow Target to control the sale and distribution of restricted products, while also protecting the privacy of our guests. Swiping or scanning a driver’s license also helps to prevent fraudulent purchases of a restricted item and aides the cashier by accurately recording required information. Products that require an ID scan include, for example; alcohol, age-restricted video games, regulated cold medicine, potential inhalants and other age- or medicinally-regulated items. Target only retains the data that is relevant to the type of transaction and maintains it with the store receipt. For example, if a guest purchases alcohol, their date of birth is the only information kept with the receipt. Additionally, information obtained during the ID swipe is not used for marketing purposes.”

Says Gary Poulsen, “In the future if I put something on that belt and it gets scanned and brings the register to a halt I’ll take it back. They’re not going to get my drivers license.”

What are your rights? You’ll hear from a legal expert Tuesday.

More on 2D bar codes from the Missouri Department of Revenue: “When the bar code is scanned, retailers only see the same information that is on the front of the driver license, except there is a four-character code that denotes the county of residence of the license’s owner that is not on the front of the license. The retail scan does not contain the photo or the signature of the licensed driver. How retailers use this information varies based on the type of scanner provided to the store by the scanner vendor. For example, some vendors might provide an “automatic age calculator” that instantly shows whether the owner of the driver license is old enough to purchase alcohol. This would help reduce instances where a clerk might miscalculate the age or to make it moot if a person attempts to make it appear that the driver license owner is old enough to purchase alcohol by altering the face of the license.The bar code is used by local license office personnel to instantly bring information about the driver to a computer screen when a customer comes into an office. Law enforcement can also scan the bar code to bring up driver record information if the person is pulled over. However, specific information noted in these two examples would not be able to be accessed by anyone at a store. The scanners in the license offices and in law enforcement vehicles are tied to specific systems that can’t be accessed by retail scanners. Here is a page on our web site that describes some of the driver license security measures, including the bar code. <a href="””>MoDoR license info

Copyright KMOX Radio


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