PORTLAND, Maine — Protecting our personal information is a top priority. Our driver’s licenses contain details like our age and where we live. You may have had your ID scanned when trying to buy alcohol or tobacco products, but what happens to that information?

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“I don’t have anything to hide," said Jeff Needham of South Portland. "I just value my privacy.”

At the store or the brewery, Needham says understands the point of checking an ID. 

“I’m wondering why businesses need to scan my driver’s license when I purchase some beer?” he asked.

Jeff Needham

He also asked if businesses need permission to scan our IDs.

“That’s a policy question for the business,” said Matt Dunlap, Secretary of State.

In Maine, businesses can scan an ID. By law though, businesses cannot save the data to build a customer database.

“The law explicitly forbids copying a license which is essentially what that would be," explained Dunlap. "This is something that the legislature struggled with a little bit because people make copies of licenses to close a mortgage, rent a car, etc. and they’ve been doing some work on that but the basic premise of the statute is to protect the privacy of the driver.”

Matt Dunlap

But Needham raises another question: what if bars or clubs use apps to scan and check IDs?

We called the folks behind the ID scanning app, Bar & Club Stats, which is based in Brooklyn, New York. We wanted to know: does this app keep the information that’s collected from a scan?

“It can. It’s up to the user to change their privacy settings so if they don’t want to, they don’t have to,” said Ben Silbert with Bar & Club Stats.

Some businesses say they scan IDs when customers are purchasing alcohol or tobacco products because it's faster and more accurate. The information, at Hannaford for example, doesn't appear for the cashier to see. All they see is if someone is of legal age or not.

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