Is this ID checking legal?

So I go to a local BW-3’s (a wing place) for lunch today. Is it at the bar with my friend, who proceeds to order a beer. The bartender asks for his ID, then takes it and swipes it through some machine on the back bar, and waits for a moment, then pours my friends beer. I understand the need to check the authenticity of the ID, but is it legal to do what they just did. I just think of possible consequences that may arise, i.e., if I were to go in next time and get really drunk (not very likely), they have my name address, etc. they might be able to do something with that info- call the cops, refuse service the next time, etc. I know that it is there right to refuse service to anyone for any reason. I also realize that it was my choice to go into this place. I’m just asking about the legality of it. Every other bar I’ve ever been to in the world, accepts my drivers locense without swiping it through some machine.

(FYI, they refused service to my neighbor- a 57 year old grandfather, because he did not have an ID. And what happens if you only have a passport, with no magnetic strip?)

What’s the difference between recording the information by swiping the card and recording it by writing it on a pad of paper? Would you suggest that a private company can’t write down the names of its customers?

As for what the business would do with a non-striped ID, the only ones who know that are at BW3.

No, I’m not suggesting that they not know my name, or that they should not write my name down, but I’ve never had another place write down my name, address, license number, etc. just to get a beer. Usually, I hand them my ID, the look at the picture to verify that it is indeed mine, check the date, and hand it back to me. I can see it now-
Prosecutor: “We have proof the defendat frequents Bar X, his ID has been swiped 28 out of the last 30 days. I’d say this does reflect negatively on his character!”
I’m just questioning the legality of it- they did not tell me what info was being collected. Do they need some kind of policy that informs the public that no info from your license would be used for such and such?

Many states have statutes that prohibit the sale of alcohol to anyone that does not have valid ID, even if they are obviously more than 100 years old. In light of these laws, many business owners create policies that require all patrons to provide a valid drivers license. If you object to providing the information contained on the magnetic strip you are free to not consume alcoholic beverages. Or even take political action to rectify the harm you percieve.

PS- I get carded for ciggaretts every day at the same store by the same clerk, despite the fact that I have shown it to her at least a hundred times. The few times I have gone there without my ID, I have left without smokes. It drives me nuts, but it is the law.

The general proposition is that any act is legal unless there is a law prohibiting it.

What law do you imagine exists prohibiting the restaurant from doing this?

So far as I am aware, there is no law anywhere that prevents what you’ve described.

  • Rick

I think that here in Michigan, there’s an exception to the ID rule if the person is personally known to the clerk – I think this would qualify.

caymus28: my wife and I just discovered the virtues of BW3. Great place. We’re too old to get carded, I think. Well, they’re supposed to card under 35, so we’re not too old. I guess I should be insulted.

You may want to ask a manager what their privacy policy is, though. Those machines are usually used to verify that your ID’s aren’t fake (most BW3’s are near universities). I doubt they actually collect the data. I haven’t see a machine like that in Michigan, though, so I could be wrong. If you are near a university, I have to imagine there are a lot of out of state licenses without bar codes, right?

I, with my mag card reader, love people like that.

Had a check card stolen. Bank called since thief didn’t have PIN. Bank really called to find out why the card mag strip printed a funny name on receipts that was different than the name on the account.

I said it before and I’ll say it again:
This is no longer a nation of freedoms nor laws but databases*
and using a publicly available method of accessing that database is legal.
*All copyrights retained.

Are you sure they recorded it?

Here in Kansas, AFAIK, they have card swipe machines that bars use when they are not certain about a certain ID’s validity. It simply comes up valid or invalid. It doesn’t record anything.

I’d wager that swiping the license is just the easiest way for them to avoid being fooled by fake IDs. You may be able to fake the printed birthdate on the front, but it’ll take special equipment to fake the information stored on the magnetic stripe on the back.

I wouldn’t doubt that the information isn’t being stored somewhere. Check out:

I understand the need to try to prevent minors from getting booze, but if the management insists on taking the ID of everyone, especially with a card reader, then you can be sure that more than just age verificatin is going on.

The machine is just reading some sort of magnetic code that verfies the authenticity of the license, its not “recording” your personal statistics or looking you up in a gigantic database.

Do tell where I can get my hands on this publicly available method.

Actually it may be recording your personal details and adding it to a database. The bar may use it to send you mail (marketing), check your credit history, even compile a complete database of every time you entered the bar and what you drank.

They may even compile the personal data on every bar patron and sell the database to others. While checking for fake IDs may be what you are told, there is much more to it than that.


Next time, use you passport. It’s an ID, but it won’t scan. :smiley:

Wow. I’m shocked.
So is it like that everywhere? When you buy a pack of smokes, for instance?

I was in a bar in Houston that just got one of those ID checkers. Since I was a regular customer, they let me play with it. It would show name, age, DL number, expiration date, street address, city. It would not get my zip code, but would get it from another customer’s DL. If you scan a credit card, it will get name, CC number, and a few other numbers I did not understand.

When you scroll though the stored data, it just showed age and time of scan.

The instructions stated that they sell software to download all of the stored information, but would only sell it in states that allowed such use. Texas recently passed a law that prohibits using scanned DL data to build databases, with a few exceptions such as by banks (???).

So… what do you suppose would happen if we were to all rub a magnet over that magnetic strip on our licenses? I mean, the card itself would still be useful… it would just mean that machines wouldn’t be able to read it. Would that be a bad thing, somehow? With the exception of one speeding ticket, I don’t think anyone’s ever scanned my ID, so it seems like your local bar would be scanning more than anyone else.

Did he ask if he could swipe your card before he did it? That may have some impact on whether it is legal or not (though it may not – it is most likely legal unless you have some privacy law that requires businesses to ask if they can take all that information from your ID). Unless the law in your state says that the business is required to obtain all the information from your ID, it is certainly not legally required to do anything other than look at your ID so they can verify your age and that the ID is yours. It certainly may be legal, but they are probably taking more information than is required by law which would piss me off if they did it without asking me first.

I knew that the U.S was fairly prohibitive when it came to alcohol but I didn’t realise the extent. You get ID’d even if you are fifty-seven years old! Wow! That must suck balls on a rather large scale!

I’m not sure I would be entirely happy about having my details swiped either, people are far too trusting of business’ these days and would probably be shocked at the amounts of information that is stored from your card usage for marketing purposes. I’m pretty sure that any information about your drinking habits would be available to employers or lawyers for example should you ever be in a position to defend yourself in court and this could be used to destroy your case. A lot can be insinuated about your character from your drink buying habits; what would happen if you happened to be buying the drinks all night so racked up a large amount of purchases then this information was used to imply you are an alcoholic in say an industrial tribunal? I don’t mean to sound paranoid but this kind erosion of your right to a private life worries me.

You don`t pay with your drivers liscense. How would they know what you ate or drank after the scan took place? I could see them linking it to a credit card, but most people still pay for bar items with cash.

For the record, I haven`t seen anything like this in the Milwaukee area yet.

Sorry to rain on your parade, but you can’t have a copyright in a word, phrase, title, or slogan. Sorry.