Officials push ban on businesses sharing driver’s license information - East Valley Tribune: Business

Officials push ban on businesses sharing driver’s license information

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Posted: Thursday, May 10, 2007 7:10 am | Updated: 7:14 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

That information encoded on your driver’s license would get a little more privacy protection under terms of legislation approved Wednesday by the House.

Lawmakers voted without dissent to bar retailers from selling or otherwise sharing information they collect from a customer’s driver’s license or other state-issued ID. Violators could end up paying fines of $500 for a first offense, and up to $5,000 for a third offense.

House Bill 2291 now awaits the governor’s signature.

The measure was one of two bills the House sent to the governor Wednesday designed to shield personal data.

House Bill 2726 would bar utility companies from selling individual customer information to anyone. It also would make it illegal for anyone to use fraudulent means to try to obtain utility records.

The two bills are the latest efforts by lawmakers to shield personal information in a time when technological advancements are making that more difficult.

One example of that is on virtually all Arizona driver licenses. There is a code on the back that machines can use to read the information about each motorist, with the same information embedded in a magnetic stripe.

Rep. Bill Konopnicki, R-Safford, said there’s nothing inherently wrong with that.

It becomes an issue, he said, when retailers who used to manually check an individual’s license now simply swipe the card through a device that records the information.

“The problem with it is that now they own the information,” he said. “And they can do with it what they want.”

The biggest users, Konopnicki said, are retailers who sell alcohol and tobacco, where buyers have to prove they are of legal age. Rather than keeping a written log, he said, they just scan all the information into the computer.

Meanwhile, legislation signed by the governor earlier this week actually provides an incentive for bars to have someone at the door scan the licenses of everyone who enters. Once that is done, bartenders can’t be held liable if they happen to serve an underage patron.

But Konopnicki said retailers are using the cards for other purposes. “They don’t have any right to sell it or pass it on.”

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