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Home » News » What happens with your personal information when your ID or license gets scanned at the store for age-restricted purchases? Could your identity be stolen?

What happens with your personal information when your ID or license gets scanned at the store for age-restricted purchases? Could your identity be stolen?

Have you ever wondered what happens when you give your ID to a worker at a gas station or grocery store to purchase something that is age-restricted?

Your identification card is scanned in a machine behind the counter, you pay for the items, and move along. What happens when your ID is scanned? Where or with what is that machine communicating with?


News10NBC looked into the answer after viewers reached out asking about the system at work behind the scenes.

Are there any privacy protections in place? Is your personal information on the license or identification card safe when it’s getting swiped in those machines?

The scanners read the barcode on the back of the license or ID. It’s intended to catch fakes.


Despite stores not storing any identifying information in those machines, privacy watchdogs say it’s not that simple.

Privacy watchdogs tell News10NBC that there are some longstanding concerns with the short-term storage of identification information in these systems. It might not store for more than a few hours, or it could store for a few days – depending on the system and how many ID’s are swiped. But what happens if there’s a data breach in that window?

In theory, your personal information could be taken.


News10NBC highlighted a bill by Democrat State Senator Brad Holman who has been pushing for change since 2014. The goal is simple, “enact privacy protections to prevent the scanning of an individual’s New York State driver’s license or identification card by any entity except in certain specific circumstances.”

It would also prevent collection, dissemination, or sale of that information to third parties.

Despite Democrats having full control of the legislative bodies in New York – the bill has not moved.



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