On a recent trip to Target, I decided to add some compressed air to my cart. Working in electronics, I find compressed air to be almost a necessity. The servers, computers, switches, and other equipment I use routinely need a good “spritz” of compressed air to keep the dust from accumulating.
But I digress.
When I went to check out, my cashier advised that I needed to scan my ID to purchase the compressed air. Not just show her my ID, but rather have my driver’s license scanned into their register. This of course allows Target to scan, read, and store my personally identifiable information. Although just someone’s full name fulfills the criteria of personally identifiable information, a Driver’s License barcode and/or magnetic stripe contains much more. By scanning the driver’s license, Target retains my full name, date of birth, address, gender, race, driver’s license number, license information (restrictions, endorsements), organ donation, and issue date.
First, let’s look at the obvious…
Why does Target need my Personally Identifiable Information?
When I was told that I was required to have my license scanned, I asked very simply, “why?” The cashier told me that Target required my age when purchasing the product. I told the cashier, that I’m almost 40 years old and asked how old I needed to be to purchase the can of compressed air.
While she called her manager (and told her that someone refused to identify themselves), she told me that the age restriction was 18. Let’s face it… I’ve posted pictures here. I’m not mistaken for a teenager. I haven’t been mistaken for a teenager in 20 years. Even though the cashier believed I was over the age of 18, she said she was not allowed to sell my the item without my driver’s license being scanned.
The manager arrived and very abruptly and confidently told me that I was required by law to scan my license. I told her that I knew of no such law and asked her if this was a Florida law or a Federal law? She called her Security team and told me, “the security guy said you can google it.”
I didn’t allow my ID to be scanned and I didn’t get to purchase the item. Incidentally, not once have I had my ID scanned for Alcohol (purchased at Target), R rated movies, or other items that are restricted by age.
Here’s the bottom line
There’s no reason that you should show or give your personally identifiable information to Target. Especially when they do not provide you with any information on how this information will be stored, protected, used, and shared. They did not provide any summary of Fair Information Practices or describe to any degree of cause as to why this information was needed.
The United States of America, at one point, greatly valued personal freedom. Sadly, this doesn’t seem to be the case today. I believe that your personally identifiable information needs to be protected, whenever possible. I don’t let people take my ID and walk away with it, and I won’t let Target scan it in their cash registers.
Instead, I’ll choose to no longer shop at Target.