Of course, the vast majority of store workers and doorkeepers are honest, law-abiding citizens. But even a few bad actors can cause a widespread impact. Employees at respected national chains have been caught allegedly using stolen identity information to access victims’ bank accounts, open new credit cards, and purchase expensive goods. Misuse of driver’s license information has also enabled or facilitated crimes from stalking and harassment to murder, resulting in legislative efforts at both the state and federal levels to restrict the disclosure of such information.
Advancing technology has only amplified these risks. Tiny cameras can capture high-resolution images of ID cards quickly and discreetly. Barcode readers, often used by stores and nightclubs under the pretext of detecting fake IDs, can be even more effective, directly extracting driver’s license information in a plain text format. Once this information is obtained, it can be stored indefinitely in private databases, where it can be analyzed, shared, and used at will for any purpose—or sold to the highest bidder.