In the state of Utah, if you go into a club and purchase a drink, and if you appear to be “35 years old or younger,” a new state law requires the bartender or waiter to electronically scan your driver’s license in order to verify your age. Of course, scanning your license electronically provides a database of who is purchasing alcoholic beverages, where, when and it what quantities; information then available to the government. All this simply because a person decides to have a drink in a club that sells alcoholic beverages.
Failure by a club to thus electronically scan a patron’s driver’s license subjects the club to civil and potential criminal sanctions. According to press accounts, some clubs that have been caught visually checking licenses to verify the age of patrons, instead of the more intrusive mandated electronic verification, are opting now to scan licenses for all patrons who “look under 60.” Failure to produce a driver’s license means a person would be refused service altogether.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, a Utah lawyer representing the state’s hospitality association likened the new law enforcement power to a police officer arresting a driver because the person “appeared to be speeding.” Pointing out the obvious and serious flaws in the new law, apparently has not diminished the enthusiasm of Utah’s law enforcement officials to run undercover operations looking for violators of the statute.
But, hey, what’s more important — the freedom to sell or enjoy a beer, or the desire by the government to require you surrender your privacy and personal information into a database?