Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


08:16 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme

Target Requires Driver's License Scan For Restricted Items

Sure, I traded my smoking habit for a Nicorette gum habit, but does that mean I should be forced to have my driver's license physically swiped through the register to buy an age restricted item? I don't think so, but retailing giant Target certainly does.

Sure, I traded my smoking habit for a Nicorette gum habit, but does that mean I should be forced to have my driver's license physically swiped through the register to buy an age restricted item? I don't think so, but retailing giant Target certainly does.Almost exactly one year ago I went to a Target store to pick up a box of Nicorette gum, which I needed in a hurry. When at the register, the clerk asked to see my driver's license to verify age. Much to my shock at the time, rather than just check my age, the clerk swiped the magnetic strip through the register. When I asked what data was captured, she couldn't answer. Not good. I blogged about the incident here, and followed up here (after Target called to assure me that only date-of-birth information is captured from the magnetic strip.).

Since that time, I've hardly bought any age restricted items at Target, but the few times I have, my simply telling the clerk my age and showing the card, without actually letting them scan it, sufficed. It was typically a hassle I tried to avoid, as neither close-by CVS or Walgreens are so pestering on the matter.

Today was different as the Target clerk informed me that just presenting the license was no longer good enough and that: The new system requires that the driver's license actually be scanned.

I don't think so. I mean, really, I have an easier time buying liqueur at the state store than nicotine-laced gum at Target.

Despite Target's assurance that only the date-of-birth is captured, I'm not allowing them to physically scan my driver's license. The strip on that license contains name, address, phone number, date-of-birth, eye color, hair color, weight, driving restrictions, and driver's license number. That's just too much data to put at risk.

Besides, how do you know that any given retailer (not just Target) doesn't change their policy and start collecting your address, your phone number, and whatever else they want? What do they do with it? Would they sell it? Too many questions, and once your data is collected, it's out of your control.

What's more, if history is any indication, when retailers' -- or any organization for that matter -- find their financial situation in dire straights one of the first things to go out the window are their privacy policies. They'll sell whatever they can to stay afloat, keep creditors at bay, or avoid or finance their bankruptcy. The most recent example is the failure of Clear -- those who used the service still don't know for sure how their data will be used, or if it will be destroyed. Forrester's Andrew Jaquith has an excellent post, TSA's Muddy Response to the Clear Shutdown, that is worth a read.

That's why, whenever a retailer asks to swipe my driver's license, the answer is no and the product is going back to the shelve. They're doing their own CYA at the expense of yours.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 11/19/2020
New Proposed DNS Security Features Released
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  11/19/2020
How to Identify Cobalt Strike on Your Network
Zohar Buber, Security Analyst,  11/18/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-24
499ES EtherNet/IP (ENIP) Adaptor Source Code is vulnerable to a stack-based buffer overflow, which may allow an attacker to send a specially crafted packet that may result in a denial-of-service condition or code execution.
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-24
An ACL bypass flaw was found in pacemaker before 1.1.24-rc1 and 2.0.5-rc2. An attacker having a local account on the cluster and in the haclient group could use IPC communication with various daemons directly to perform certain tasks that they would be prevented by ACLs from doing if they went throu...
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-24
Barco wePresent WiPG-1600W firmware includes a hardcoded API account and password that is discoverable by inspecting the firmware image. A malicious actor could use this password to access authenticated, administrative functions in the API. Affected Version(s):,,,
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-24
HRSALE 2.0.0 allows XSS via the admin/project/projects_calendar set_date parameter.
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-24
A flaw was discovered in WildFly before 21.0.0.Final where, Resource adapter logs plain text JMS password at warning level on connection error, inserting sensitive information in the log file.