State Government

Who IS Big Brother and What Does he Know?

A GUARDIAN reader tells us the Idaho State Liquor Stores have a new toy that scans the information off driver licenses and he hates it more than an Albertson Preferred Card.
DL Reader.jpg

We contacted the folks at the Liquor Dispensary and they were proud to explain the new system is sold to them by an outfit named CONCORD which supplies each store with a device that looks like a credit card reader. They claim to have a “secure” data base. Right! We found what we believe to be the data center at primarypaymentscom..

Ironic that a private firm gets data from the State of Idaho and SELLS it back to another Idaho state agency.

Here’s how it works:
The clerks swipe the license through the reader and almost instantly it contacts an online data base with stored information from state driver license bureaus throughout the nation. It offers the name, age, license number, address, date of birth on a small screen and will confirm or deny the validity of the license–not necessarily the person offering it as I.D.

Ken Winkler, the chief financial officer for the liquor dispensary, said the device helps insure the I.D. is not false. He said the data is “one way” and is updated about once a month. With about 200 million licenses in the USA, there must be hundreds of new ones every second! The data is out of date before it is sold.

Later, he admitted that information from the device is indeed collected and stored by the private contractor each time a license is scanned. He claims there is no record of customer’s drinking preferences.

Here is the fun part. The GUARDIAN contacted the Idaho DMV and got through to “Peggy I would rather not give my last name” and inquired about obtaining driver license info which was public record. She is an information production technology specialist.

She cited something called the DRIVER PRIVACY PROTECTION ACT and said the state doesn’t give out driver license info period. We could write a letter explaining why we needed the info and she would forward it to the Attorney General, but the department simply doesn’t give out driver license info.

We saw it work and it worked fast at the local booze store. Where and how does the private company get the info it sells back to the state of Idaho?

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. …so clearly the State DOES give out drivers’ license info. Perhaps not all if it, but enough to accommodate the sale of information to the State Liquor dispensary. I’m bothered by the fact you were told to write down “why” you want the information. Public records Act is unambiguous in its provision that those requesting information can NOT be asked why they want the info or what they plan to do with it. Either it’s public or it isn’t. No letter is required, just a public information form. Why pay a middle man, let’s just get the left and right hands together and save what’s likely a boatload of money.

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