Last week I had the misfortune of having my ID scanned. My coworkers were having a happy hour after work and we decided to meet up at True North Tavern in North Park here in San Diego. I didn't know the bouncer was going to scan it, in fact, he didn't tell me what he was going to do. I didn't realize what he had done until my ID picture popped up on the black podium-like scanner machine's screen. I asked him, "are you guys keeping my driver's license data?", to which he responded, "read all about it over there" as he points to a laminated piece of paper describing the scanner, the need to scan IDs, etc.
What I don't understand is the lack of communication prior to scanning my ID. Where was the consent that I gave? It surely wasn't verbal, so did I "give" consent merely by wanting to enter their premises? I don't think so. Sure, I wanted to go in, but by no means do I want my ID data anywhere for these people to have. Had they asked me for permission to scan my ID, I would have turned around and gone elsewhere.
So, why does this matter? Why do I care about having my ID scanned? Well, for starters, let's talk about all the data breaches that have happened in just the last year. I'm talking about Target, Home Depot, Anthem, and (most shocking) the OPM data breach. These types of data breaches have become more common and I wouldn't be surprised if these ID scanners don't offer high-level encryption or security.
Aside from the potential flaw in data safekeeping, I also care about my privacy. I don't want these ID scanning entities to "data mine" my ID information and potentially connect it to the credit card I used that night. Besides that potential risk, the following are a few ways that a decent analyst can use data gathered from ID scanners:
What scares me is what the ID scanning companies might do with the data. Do they keep a copy of each bar's data? I would assume so, seeing that these machines alert bar owners to trouble-making patrons.There has to be some sort of data sharing. Also, how safe is their database? Would it be easy to hack into?
Ultimately, who knows how the data is being used after your ID is logged or how secure it is, but I don't like it. I am aware that other companies have your data (Google, Facebook), but it's right there in the terms and conditions. Bouncers at these bars don't tell you until after they've taken your information (if ever), which doesn't seem right. For me, the cost of having my ID scanned and logged outweighs the benefit of visiting such bars. No thank you, so I'll take my business elsewhere.
My name is Belen, I like to play with data using Stata during work hours and in my free time. I like blogging about my Fitbit, Stata, and random musings.