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ID Tech May Mean an End to Anonymous Drinking 514

Anonymous Howard writes "If you visit a lot of bars and restaurants, you've likely crossed paths with driver's license scanners — machines that supposedly verify that your license is valid. In actuality, many of these scanners are designed to record your license information in addition to verifying them, and those that authenticate against a remote database are creating a record of when and where you buy alcohol. Not only that, but they're not even particularly effective — the bar code on your license uses an open, documented standard and can be rewritten to change your age or picture. Collecting our driver's license information is one thing, but collecting data about our personal drinking habits is not only a violation of, according to the ACLU representative quoted in the article, privacy and civil liberties, but this 'drinking record' could also create problems for people in civil and criminal lawsuits as proof of alcohol purchases in DUI cases or evidence of alcoholism in divorce lawsuits."
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ID Tech May Mean an End to Anonymous Drinking

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  • Easy workaround (Score:4, Informative)

    by wiggles ( 30088 ) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @05:43PM (#21990814)
    This is easy to work around -- just mark the bar code with a sharpie. The machine won't be able to read it, and they'll be forced to check your ID the old fashioned way.
  • Re:Easy workaround (Score:2, Informative)

    by SoundGuyNoise ( 864550 ) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @05:49PM (#21990940) Homepage
    Better to sand it or bleach it off. Less likely to be considered "tampering" with it, if it seems more like the bar code "wore off."
  • by HTH NE1 ( 675604 ) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @06:07PM (#21991334)

    Using cash.
    To bribe the person at the door to not scan your ID I assume.
  • by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @06:11PM (#21991412) Homepage
    I should have been more specific, I meant wine.

    From Wikipedia:

    The discovery of late Stone Age beer jugs has established the fact that intentionally fermented beverages existed at least as early as the Neolithic period (cir. 10,000 BC), and it has been suggested that beer may have preceded bread as a staple; wine clearly appeared as a finished product in Egyptian pictographs around 4,000 BC[1]

    Brewing dates from the beginning of civilization in ancient Egypt and alcoholic beverages were very important in that country. Symbolic of this is the fact that while many gods were local or familial, Osiris, was worshiped throughout the entire country. The Egyptians believed that this important god invented beer, a beverage that was considered a necessity of life; it was brewed in the home "on an everyday basis."[1]

    Both beer and wine were deified and offered to gods. Cellars and winepresses even had a god whose hieroglyph was a winepress. The ancient Egyptians made at least seventeen varieties of beer and at least 24 varieties of wine. Alcoholic beverages were used for pleasure, nutrition, medicine, ritual, remuneration and funerary purposes. The latter involved storing the beverages in tombs of the deceased for their use in the after-life.[1]

    Main Article: []

    And yes, the article cites its sources.
  • by Zonk (troll) ( 1026140 ) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @06:23PM (#21991602)

    As far as I know drunks and underage drinkers are not a protected class. Several companies will not hire you if you are a smoker, and it's legal for them to do so.
    It's legal, yes, but it shouldn't be. I completely support a company's right to ban smoking on their premises, but it's unacceptable for them to dictate what you do in your own time when not at work.

    Just read this article [] from the paper a few weeks ago:

    Maltby's bigger concern is the total smoking ban, which he views as a fundamental civil-rights issue, since it extends beyond the workplace into an individual's home. He notes that 29 states and the District of Columbia have so-called lifestyle-rights laws that protect employees' rights to smoke when they're not at work.

    But not Florida. "When I found out it was legal to discriminate against smokers [in 2002], those were my marching orders," said Westgate's chief executive, David Siegel, who gave his tobacco-using employees a year's notice before the total ban went into effect.


    Siegel, who says his brief flirtation with cigarettes ended in 1959, is so strongly opposed to the habit that he would like to see smoking banned completely. Short of that, he hopes his company's smoking ban -- effective in Florida and every other Westgate location where it's allowed by state law -- becomes a model for other employers.
  • by Torvaun ( 1040898 ) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @06:25PM (#21991626)
    Personally, I don't like marijuana either. I'm with you on industrial hemp, though.
  • Re:God dammit (Score:3, Informative)

    by DCTooTall ( 870500 ) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @06:34PM (#21991768)
    I knew a bartender I worked with in NC who was red-carded (basically, failed a spot-check for not carding someone who came in to buy a many red-cards and you lose your ability to serve liquor) when a lady obviously in her 50's was not asked for her ID. How did she know she was of age? Attire, Hair, Grey hair, Wrinkles...Oh, and the single biggest thing the bartender could tell she was over 21....She ordered a drink that nobody has seriously drank since the 70's. Definately not a trendy or strong underager kind of drink.
  • In the name of DUI (Score:2, Informative)

    by Nonillion ( 266505 ) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @06:39PM (#21991844)
    "Wouldn't the driver's BAC be the "smoking gun" in most DUI cases?"

    Pfft... Yeah, OK, you just keep on believing that. Just so you know, under the best of conditions the registered BAC is only accurate to 20% of it's real value. If a breathalyser suggests you are over the legal limit of .08% you should be taken to the hospital to have blood drawn for a blood test. But since this is too much of a pain in the ass for law enforcement, the legal system decided to give these machines the power to determine your guilt or innocence.

    This is just another attempt to infringe upon your liberties and other hysterical and unconstitutional laws passed in the name of DUI. As far as the constitution, president Bush thinks "It's just a goddamned piece of paper!"
  • by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @07:18PM (#21992410)

    Sorry, but you're completely mistaken.

    Sorry, but, no, I'm not.

    A law being unjust is not justification for breaking.

    You are welcome to your opinion of what justifies breaking a law; that's completely irrelevant to the point on which you claimed I was mistaken.

    Civil disobedience is refusing to comply with a command of government (including, but not limited to, a law) as a way of protesting the injustice of either the command/law, or the claim to authority of the government issuing the command/law. Whether civil disobedience is justified, either in general or in any specific case, is a matter of opinion, and irrelevant to the discussion of what civil disobedience is.

    My stance is the one used in the Civil Rights movement, by Gandhi, etc.

    No, its not. Neither Gandhi nor the Civil Rights Movement took the stance that the injustice of law cannot justify breaking them; both, to the contrary, to the position that the illegitimacy of law (either because of the illegitimacy of the authority issuing it, in the case of Gandhi's anti-colonial movement, or because of the injustice of its content, in the case of Civil Rights Movement) could justify breaking it in certain, non-violent ways.

    Take it up with any PoliSci professor and you'll see that I'm right.

    Unlikely. At least, none of the ones I interacted in the course of getting a Bachelor's degree in the field ever had your rather unique views on those movements. Perhaps you should consider, though, some more direct source material, like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail":

    You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. [...] The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a more responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."

    The act proposed upthread may fail to be proper "civil disobedience" because it isn't open defiance of the law with acceptance of the consequences, but it certainly doesn't fail because it is breaking the law. If it wasn't breaking the law, civil disobedience would instead be called "civil obedience".
  • by boristdog ( 133725 ) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @07:23PM (#21992458)
    Have you ever TRIED obscuring a bar code?

    It's not easy. The readers don't read black/white, they read relective/not-so-reflective.

    I've wholly obscured bar codes with a sharpie before and a reader can read them. So if you can come up with a clear coating that reflects red/near-infrared light (which most BCRs use), you'll be rich! It will be even better if you can clear-print a totally different bar code on it which will be almost invisible.

    "Right-o, Mr. G.W. Bush of 1600 PA Avenue, come on in!"

  • by Jerry Beasters ( 783525 ) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @07:23PM (#21992460)
    My degree is in religious studies, so I feel this is one area I should chime in on. He is kind of correct. In Judaism, since ancient times, drinking (both to get drunk and not) has not only been allowed, but during the holiday of Purim you are in fact instructed to drink every time the name Haman is spoken when repeating Esther's story. That name is said a hell of a lot, and it is expected and encouraged that you drink a bit too much and enjoy yourself. Monks invented many types of beer and brewed a lot of it, but mainly due to the danger of drinking the unclean water.
  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @07:26PM (#21992504) Journal

    Yes yes, very few of you are lawyers, but I'm wondering what the legality of removing/obscuring the barcode so that it no longer scans.
    Technically, you're tampering with an official ID card. Realistically, no one is going to prosecute you for 'defacing' the barcode on your license since there is no intent to commit fraud.

    If you want to see what's on your barcode, check this site out: []

    Keep in mind that the 2D barcodes have a fair bit of redundancy. You can check the results of your handywork using a scanner and the aforementioned website.
  • Re:God dammit (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 10, 2008 @10:02PM (#21994114)
    True for the most part? You sir, are mistaken. The US brews more specialty beers than anywhere. If you're here and you're drinking canoe beer, it's your own dumb fault for thinking US beer sucks.

    If you live near a BevMo, go there looking for beer. Screw your head on tight and GO!

The best defense against logic is ignorance.