Maybe I've been living in a hole, but we had a brand new experience last night of going into Otto's Shrunken Head (free bands, $5 drinks) and having our driver's license scanned. On a little screen all our personal information that can be gleaned from a license - name, address, date of birth, probably social security number (I can't find any site that tells me exactly what is being stored in NY drivers licenses), eye color etc. came up. Identity thieves working in bars? This is the perfect way to gain a lot of information. Stalkers in bars? Same thing.
If someone pays their tab with a credit card, the two pieces of data could easily be matched up by a nefarious employee. Some states (I don't know which) store social security numbers and other biometric information such as fingerprints in the barcode of the license, which really tips this issue over the top. I wish we had walked out, but by the time we realized what had happened, it was too late, our information was scanned, and stored.
I find this incredibly invasive. The Times reported on this back in 2002, but I seemed to have missed it until last night. The claim that the scanners don't give them any information they couldn't get if instead they wrote it down or xeroxed it is ludicrous. The manual labor it would take to retrieve the data that way would be quite a project, but not if it's already scanned and put into a database automatically.
Somehow proving your ability to operate a motor vehicle has been combined with it being a national identity card, with the ability to check your identification by anybody including the police, bar owners and border guards in Canada and Mexico.
None of this has been challenged in court.
You are being watched.