Dense Fog Advisory for Central Oklahoma

Controversy over driver’s license information

driver's license

OKLAHOMA CITY — Companies spend millions on market research trying to figure out what people buy and why.

But now with driver’s licenses being loaded with personal information, retailers have access at every swipe.

Recent reports of some retailers scanning driver’s licenses to make returns or to buy alcohol has some Oklahomans concerned.

Many said there is too much personal information to which companies should not have access.

Privacy advocate Kaye Beach made headlines when she filed a lawsuit against the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety about privacy concerns regarding biometrics tracking on her license.

“There is a magnetic strip on every drivers license in the United State and there is a 2-D bar code in Oklahoma and that contains all the information on your card and sometimes more so we need to be asking where that information is going,” Beach said.

She recommends using a sticker to block the bar code from being scanned.

Reports show data collected from licenses are being stored electronically by major chains for marketing research and possibly being sold without the customer knowing it. 

Your birth date, height, weight, address, if you’re an organ donor and your personal signature is all on there.

“I can’t think of any legal reason for a company to need it,” attorney David Slane said. “You’re not obligated to hand it over just because a cashier asks you to. People need to know they have a right to say, ‘I’m not going to give you my license and you don’t need to scan it.’ They legally can withhold it. The only person required to would be a police officer.”

Slane also said putting a sticker across the bar code on a license is legal but making other alterations or changing information is illegal.