Wine vending machine will be a gold mine of data for government

In the lastest example of Americans’ willingness to trade privacy for convenience, wine drinkers in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are purchasing bottles of wine from computerized vending machines.  Were this simply a matter of putting your money in the machine, selecting the bottle of wine you wish to purchase, touching a button and then retrieving the bottle of fermented grape nectar that suits your palate, it would hardly be problematic.  In fact, because Pennsylvania has some of the most complex and restrictive alcohol-purchasing laws  in the country, it would be a great way to empower citizens to exercise what should be an un-fettered right to puchase whatever wine they want whenever they want. 

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.  In order to purchase that bottle of wine from the new, state-of-the-art electronic merchant in Pennsylvania, you have to not only pay for the wine, but also:  (1) swipe your driver’s license, (2) submit to having the machine take your photo, and (3) blow into the machine so it can determine your blood alcohol level.  Thus is created a record in a database accessible to, if not controlled by the government, linking your simple purchase of a bottle of wine to:  (1) all the data contained in your driver’s license, (2) a digitized photograph of the person using the machine, and (3) the blood-alcohol level of that person at the date and time he or she bought the bottle of wine.  If something is amiss in all that –  even if a result of a mistake on the part of the machine — it will be a simple matter for the authorities to come after you. 

Hopefully, the wine you will have purchased and preferably had the chance to enjoy, will have been worth the loss of privacy to which you consented at the time of purchase.

56 comments Add your comment

Eric

July 16th, 2010
8:02 am

Well, I would never submit to this type of intrusion. It’s bad enough having to enter your zip code just to purchase gasoline (I don’t feel “safer” by giving out info. to a machine about where I live). So with wine, I wouldn’t trade my private data for mere “convenience”. I’m not that lazy that I can’t go to a grocery or package store and buy wine there. People check your ID there, so why can’t the gov. be satisfied?

George Carlin

July 16th, 2010
8:29 am

Why can’t we do this with marijuana? We could raise enough tax revenue from its sale to pay for Obama’s socialist spending so that the massive debt he and his team are creating don’t drown our grandchildren.

david wayne osedach

July 16th, 2010
8:56 am

I lived in Alicante, Spain for a year. There – they had beer vending machines at the beaches.

Mr. Sulu

July 16th, 2010
9:12 am

Beer vending machinces are commonplace in Tokyo too. No ID required either. You go Mr. Bob

Drawing Black Lines

July 16th, 2010
9:23 am

I have a hard enough time with Georgia’s laws on alcohol, but it looks like I wont be moving to Penn. anytime soon.

John D

July 16th, 2010
10:31 am

Short of measures like the ones described, it will not be possible to restrict the sale of wine to persons over 21 years of age.

And since the measures described are unjustifiably intrusive upon privacy rights, I have reached the simple conclusion that vending machines shouldn’t offer liquor.

Of course, this would necessitate something less than a state of complete social and economic anarchy, so I’m not sure how the libertarians will feel about it.

JP

July 16th, 2010
10:37 am

Is the wine any good?

barking frog

July 16th, 2010
10:39 am

the only info you give up is the wine purchase and blood alcohol level, the drivers license and
picture is already part of govt database.

I-85

July 16th, 2010
10:49 am

privacy has gone the way of the Edsel. Everyone will have to have a computer chip inplanted in their arm and everytime they go any place there will be a record. This is the new world order. A computerized world where all is controlled by a centralized computer bank. It will not be all that bad, all decisions will be made by the system, no thinking at all on the part of the individual, in fact individual will be no longer, just a collective group being told what to do.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

July 16th, 2010
10:50 am

Glad I don’t drink alcoholic beverages.

W

July 16th, 2010
10:52 am

No one is forcing these people to use the vending machine…so who cares. I love the angry family value set that relate everything to socialism! What was Bush’s extreme spending..Fascism?

Swede Atlanta

July 16th, 2010
11:01 am

If someone is willing to subject themselves to all that “hassle” let alone the privacy concerns, let them go for it. I could really care less what Bob thinks about it. He doesn’t live in PA. If he doesn’t like the process then don’t use it. Go and buy your hooch at a store.

jconservative

July 16th, 2010
11:06 am

And if I am elected I promise an electric wine cooler in every house.

interested observer

July 16th, 2010
11:07 am

At least the people have the choice as to whether to surrender their privacy. You can post your SS number, criminal history and sexual preferences on your Facebook page too, but that doesn’t make it smart.
The simple solution: don’t buy wine from a vending machine.

mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack the LIAR Obama, BEND OVER, here comes the CHANGE!

July 16th, 2010
11:14 am

Who cares?…. There are BIGGER fish to fry.

neo-Carlinist

July 16th, 2010
11:16 am

I had my bank call me two days ago to “confirm” the information they have about me (date of birth, mother’s maiden name, etc.). I said, I have three checking accounts, two credit cards, and a mortgage with you guys. I have been a customer since 1992. I pay my mortgage and credit card bills on time. you know who I am. if a person wishes to purchase wine from a vending machine, I suppose the libertarian in me says, the law does not require people to purchase or cosume wine” – so Ragnar, that’s why you have a perpetual bug up your a** – but the law does require those who purchase wine to present identificatin and proof of age, so if you’re buying from a mechanical/digital vendor, it seems natural the machine would expect you to use machine language. whatever nefarious use the merchant or government finds for the data can be avoided by not using mechanical vendors. I was a bartender for 15 years, and I procured my fair share of hooch with fake or doctored IDs – grew up in NJ, and legal age was 18, but in the 70’s no photo on state drivers license.

hyde

July 16th, 2010
11:16 am

actually, it’s not a matter of laziness or convenience for us here in PA, it’s the state’s antiquated liquor laws…while there are a few exceptions that have occurred over the past few years, purchasing alcohol in this state generally works like this: to buy a case of beer, keg, or party ball, you need to go to a beer … See Moredistributor…to buy a 6-pack or a 40, you need to go to a bar–although you can only purchase 192 oz. at a time, which means that if i want to buy 3 6-packs, i can only buy 2 in my first trip, take them out to my car, then come back and buy the third in a separate transaction…to buy wine or liquor, you need to go to a state store, which is staffed by unionized (surprise, surprise) state employees…it’s a completely overpriced and ass-backwards system, which the state will not let go of even though we’re broke…

Will

July 16th, 2010
11:20 am

I am so glad they won the civil war! Looked what they have turned into…lmao

mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack the LIAR Obama, BEND OVER, here comes the CHANGE!

July 16th, 2010
11:22 am

What was Bush’s extreme spending..Fascism?
W, it was called BI-PARTISAN (it didn’t pass without the dems), It’s also something NObama wants.

Ben Franklin

July 16th, 2010
11:24 am

I can confrim what Hyde says. I was a Georgia native that moved to Philadelphia and back. Their laws on alcohol sales will make your head spin. I used to think the Sunday blue laws here in GA were bad until I moved to PA. I think George Carlin has a point about decriminalizing pot as a tremendous new source of tax revenue. Party on Wayne.

Swede Atlanta

July 16th, 2010
11:34 am

mmm….Are you gay and soliciting something here by your screen name?

Will

July 16th, 2010
11:35 am

Decriminalizing pot as a tremendous new source of mafia expansion from the chicago and cities of mexico. It will be like the 1920’s all over again. We will learn new names like pretty boy floyd, dillinger, and others. We will see the locals get killed, raped, and kidnapped so you can get high. I think every joint should have the taste of blood in it.
You do not think the cartels are going to stay in mexico do you?

Rafe Hollister

July 16th, 2010
11:35 am

Bush pushed us up the socialistic hill and Obama shoved us over and we are rolling fast now.

But what is it with you libs, you never defend Obama, you just bash Bush, as if that does any good. When we point out all Obama’s lies, you respond with Bush lied too. Obama spends way too much of our money, you respond so did Bush. Both are losers, so where do we go from here? Maybe we could elect someone who doesn’t lie and doesn’t spend us in bankruptcy. Bush lied, people died, Obama lied Freedom died.

ButtHead

July 16th, 2010
11:57 am

W,
I love you liberals that blame everything on Bush. Are you upset by how much Bush spent? Then you should be 4 times as angry at how much Obozo spent in 18 months…. Obozo spent 4 times as much in 18 months as Bush did in 8 years, so where is the outrage? Better yet what do we have to show for all the spending he has done? Other that losing 7 million jobs, and keeping the unions funded with taxpayer money, where has all that money gone? If I was given a billion dollars I could create many full time jobs, but give a dimacrat 1 trillion dollars and he loses 7 million jobs, boy makes me want to vote dimacrat… NOT

sam

July 16th, 2010
12:21 pm

I lived in Pa. You can only buy liquor at “state stores”. Already a pain in the bum. I guess if you want wine bad enough you will use vending machines. Just can’t see me doing it.

ND

July 16th, 2010
12:43 pm

As much as I dislike invasion of privacy by the government, if there are other alternatives for purchasing wine and use of this machine is voluntary, it’s not that big of a deal. Those who don’t value their privacy can feel free to use the machine.

bravo_metmasher

July 16th, 2010
12:48 pm

Bush was bad and Obama is worse. Bring the boys home!

Google Wayne Allen Root for President

W

July 16th, 2010
1:21 pm

Bush spent 8 years in office blaming everything on Clinton. I love the Republicans, Obama was president one week when they started the dont blame Bush campaign. What exactly is he responsible for as president 81/2 of the last 10 years? And calling the Republicans bi partisan under Bush is a complete rewrite of history. and btw, just because someone is not following the repub dogma, doesnt mean they approve of Obama.

Ben Franklin

July 16th, 2010
1:56 pm

Will, the cartels will go back to Mexico, knudnick.

Jefferson

July 16th, 2010
5:01 pm

Just steal somebody’s id.

Da Lizard King

July 17th, 2010
1:40 am

On one hand, it is true that you do indeed have the choice to buy wine or not from this vending machine. Question; How long before it is no longer your choice? Here is the ” On the other hand”….We also have the choice to use or not use the internet as well as shop at big grocery store chains that issue club cards, use or not use ATM machines, watch, listen, or read the news and all of its bias and censorship, con and persuasion. Americans need to wake the hell up and start thinking for themselves again! Question: When you go to the poles to vote you are given so called “choices”, ie. to vote or not for this one or that one etc. For God sake has any ever stood back to look at the bigger picture. Does any see that the choice has been made for you already. Has anyone ever chose any one of our Presidents because you personally know them and feel they posses the ability to run a country, YOUR COUNTRY! If you answered yes then I am calling you a liar. For all you have accomplished by casting your vote was to make the choice between the the candidates already chosen for you. That’s if your vote even counts and the whole voting process isn’t just a mere pacification for the people. Every time you swipe any kind of card with a magnetic strip containing info on it, and every time you “choose” to use the internet, and every time you drive down a freeway fixed with cameras, and every time you do business with financial institutions, make cell phone calls, land line calls, install cable TV boxes, (IN WHAT ROOM?) you are providing someone with information about who you are, what you are buying or doing, at what time during the day you are doing this, why you are doing this and so on. Please do not get me wrong, like you all, I too am a product of society, and like you I too am forced to work long hard hours just to to make it. Perhaps unlike you (or perhaps not) I have stopped talking the game and stood back and observed for a long enough period of time to know that no longer are we part of the decisions our government makes, no longer are our voices heard, our concernes presented, our futures secured. Folkes it doesn’t matter if you are a Democrat or Republican or who you voted for or why. The people who get elected are not because of the vote count but because of MONEY. Remember when lobbyists used to be a bad thing? Well this is the way America does business now. Not one President has made the changes that the people want instead they were bought these positions to keep things the way they are so that the big corporations with financial strength more powerful than a multitude of countries combined can continue the money game and gathering the information about your personal lives use it for marketing and God only knows what other methods of tearing you or your credit score down and getting as much of your hard earned money away from you. No more are the days of getting permission from the citizens of this country to review your personal financial status, NO IN FACT it is made extremely hard for you to put a stop to anyone obtaining this information and it happens on a daily basis. This is more than just a mistake made on your phone or electric bill, your credit card or bank statement which happens to be NOT IN YOUR FAVOR, it is the way America does business. How many times have you had to spend countless hours on hold to correct a mistake that you were billed for just to have to do it again the next month. Now multiply that and any insignificant amount that you were billed for wrongfully by a conservative number that you believe would be roughly half of this countries population and realize that the total amount you are looking at only represent a fraction of what is really happening to the public and only representing one of the dozens and dozens of corporations that we interact with monthly. Think about it, when was the last time you refereed to the government as we or I or us rather than them or they. WAKE UP! The cookies exchanged during my thoughts on line just now have totalled over 30+. Just think about the bigger picture because to talk about the rights that are being violated by a wine vending machine is infantessimal when compared to what has already been collected about you with out you even knowing or having a say in the matter!

Eric

July 17th, 2010
6:52 am

Da Lizard King – You say it’s my “choice” to use the Internet. But the University of Georgia System requires its students to use the Internet in some of its degree programs. They have done away with the classroom lecture in many instances, while requiring citizens to purchase technology from private companies in order to get a degree. THIS IS NOT FREEDOM OF CHOICE.

Hank Williams Jr.

July 17th, 2010
9:19 am

Hank Williams Jr.

July 17th, 2010
9:22 am

Got run off Rodney Ho’s American Idol blog last week.(should be called American Bordal).
Will one of you go over there and tell them a-holes I say hey…

Just say z…zzzzzzzzzzz……………zzz………..zzzz (sleep apnea)…

They will know what you are saying.
The thread puts you to sleep.

sean smith

July 18th, 2010
10:58 am

Does Bob Barr get up and take a paranoid pill every day???? what a bunch of winers. if you dont want to use the machine go to a liquor store.

MrLiberty

July 18th, 2010
2:07 pm

The market will take care of this issue. Nobody will want to use these stupid things and they will go away. The problem would be if everyone HAD to use these by government edict.

When I was in Tokyo a decade or so ago, there were vending machines for everything right out in the open and available to everyone. Cigarettes everywhere for sure and coffee drinks galone. Near the Grand Hotel just around the corner from the Imperial Palace, there was even a vending machine that sold beer and even a $50 bottle of scotch. No ID, just cash. Anyone, even a 5 year old with the money could purchase from this machine. They trust their citizens and respect their freedom. No, Japan is certainly not a free country by a long shot, but it shows just how far this country has sunk since the late 1800’s when even a child could purchase morphine from the drugist. Groups like MADD and the like and all the puritanical totalitarians that infest our country have done so much to destroy freedom. If there were to be a discussion about deporting anyone from our shores, these are the folks that should be in the lead transports.

No More Progressives!

July 18th, 2010
2:38 pm

W

July 16th, 2010
1:21 pm
Bush spent 8 years in office blaming everything on Clinton.

He did?

I didn’t get that memo.

W

July 18th, 2010
4:51 pm

NMP, you were probably too busy with your important job that the illegals compete for. You mean Bush actually took responsibility for ruining the country?

rawmilkdrinker

July 18th, 2010
5:04 pm

Eric: Do what I was told to do at the gas pump, use the CIA zipcode-22101. Never had a problem buying gas anywhere east of the Mississipi River with a credit card

Tiger

July 18th, 2010
5:25 pm

Barr should write about family values and his views on adultry!

itstrue

July 18th, 2010
5:39 pm

I was just in Japan earlier this summer and they most certainly do NOT trust their citizens to purchase booze and cigarettes without ID. While I was told it’s fairly recent, they have a system called TASPO that recognizes an ID for an age-determined purchase. It doesn’t take your picture or make you blow a breathalizer, but their machines do check ID.

Besides, you can’t do anything in Japan without being on camera and told how to stand in line. That’s the last place I’d look for civil liberties. OK, maybe Singapore is the last place…

As for the zip code thing, that’s so someone can’t use your card to buy gas if they stole it. What on earth could “they” do with that information? Seeing as there are 10s of 1000s of people in a given ZIP, what could they possibly use it for? To see how many people in 303-whatever buy Premium?

Look, it’s good to look out against unnecessary intrusion into our privacy, but it’s also good to look at it case by case and ask if the trade-off is worthwhile. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. I like knowing my card is secure at the pump. I don’t like my grocery card tracking my purchases. PA seems to be wasting a lot of time and money on a dumb system, but what could some secret government wine vending database ever do to threaten our freedoms? What do I care if they know I like Pinot Grigio?

Of all things to get worked up over…

Hank Williams Jr.

July 18th, 2010
6:35 pm

Will someone go to Rodney Ho’s blog ‘American Idol’ and say zzzzz…zzzzzzzzzz….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
You see, I got run off there snoring ….

Gram

July 18th, 2010
7:04 pm

What’s to keep a kid from stealing mom’s or dad’s ID, or someone else’s for that matter, wearing a disguise, and getting something they shouldn’t have?

Matt

July 18th, 2010
7:23 pm

America has lost well over half of what once made it great. No one marched after the ‘Patriot’ act. No one marched after TARP. As long as the TV still turns on and the buffet doesn’t close, our brain dead populace of overweight consumers absolutely does not care.

Hank Williams Jr.

July 18th, 2010
8:13 pm

Time for REAL change in ythis damn country.

We will not be intimidated by black panthers at tea party gatherings or Glenn Beck rallies.

Bring lawyers ,guns and money, the shi% has hit the fan !!

Ted Striker

July 18th, 2010
8:45 pm

Any way we can get Bob to run for President rather than Newt? At least he’d be a candidate I’d consider

Jeb

July 18th, 2010
8:45 pm

Glenn Beck rallies? You’re an idiot.

P

July 18th, 2010
9:24 pm

Most of ya’ll don’t get it. You have to look at the big picture Bob is trying to paint. Every day it’s a new way to mine data or reduce privacy. Any one event makes you want to go “he’s just paranoid”. But if you look at the glacier like moves of government over the years they are now in your back yard. Wake up and smell the coffee!

Margo Snatcher

July 18th, 2010
9:31 pm

I always thought Mel’s Jesus was angry in the Passion of Christ, now I know why…

kevin.bacon

July 19th, 2010
4:28 am

Eric– you dont have to “enter your zip code just to buy gasoline.” You can buy gasoline at any gas station with cash money without giving out any data. You enter your zip code because you use a credit card. Just like, when you buy things online and can’t sign, you usually have to enter ‘billing address.’ (in reality, only the zip code is verified. you can enter any street address as long as the zip is right, it will go through).

Lazy Media

July 19th, 2010
6:51 am

You can’t compare something like this in Japan to doing it in the U.S. If a teenager or a drunk person bought from the machine (and without the driver’s license and breathalyzer requirements, they certainly would), and wound up in a fatal car wreck, the lawsuits would wipe out every cent the state ever made on selling from the machine (which is an after-hours convenience made attractive by Pennsylvania’s silly booze laws). In Japan, it is extremely difficult to sue anyone, let alone the government, so it’s not an issue. If you think JAPAN believes in privacy and freedom more than our society, you’re nuts. I probably wouldn’t buy from such a machine, because it is intrusive, but it’s not set up that way for no reason or because of creeping Orwellism.

Lazy Media

July 19th, 2010
6:53 am

P: 99 percent of the attempts to reduce privacy come from private corporations, particularly the financial and insurance companies, who are trying to get the information to rig the bets they make with us. The government is the least of our worries,

cheers

July 19th, 2010
6:57 am

Eric – entering in your zip code at a gas pump is to verify that the card you are using is not a fake/hi-jacked credit card. It has nothing to do with wanting to know where you live.

PA’s laws are backassward just like North Carolina or any state for that matter that has the wonderful ABC govt run liquor stores. I remember a quote from a NC legislator once that pretty much summed it up. “We have the highest prices on liquor in the country and frankly we’re quite proud of it. It keeps liquor purchases low and gives us the highest revenues”

I owned a liquor store in N Georgia and Georgia has some stupid antiquated laws, but PA and NC and other states that have ABC are just ridiculas.

I wouldnt have a problem scanning the ID to buy out of a vending machine. I’d just have the DD blow in the straw.

Eric

July 19th, 2010
10:17 pm

kevin.bacon — Of course I have to enter my zip code just because I’m using a credit card. Until recently that wasn’t necessary. But the point is, I was never asked if I wanted that feature. The answer is no. I do not feel safer giving out data randomly to a machine. I may very well switch to cash, as you suggest. Thank God not everything has gone totally paperless!!

rawmilkdrinker

July 20th, 2010
6:12 am

As I said before, use the zipcode for CIA headquarters in Langly (22101). If you don’t like that one then use the Whitehouse zipcode, 20500
Of course if you read the agreements between Visa,Mastercard,Discover, and Am Express you will find that merchants are in violation of agreements by requiring additional ID for in person purchases with a credit card.

sharkey

July 26th, 2010
7:01 pm

PROGRESS NEVER HURTS, BUT THIS IS LOCO. FIRST NOBODY WANTS TO BLOW AT A MACHINE TO PURCHASE WINE. SECOND THERE IS NO SECURITY W/ A HUMAN SAYING YOU CAN OR CAN’T PURCHASE BECAUSE HE OR SHE DECIDES IF YOU ARE THE SAME PERSON IN FRONT OF MACHINE COMPARED TO THE ID THAT JUST GOT SCANNED. WHAT IS WRONG W/ BIOMETRICS. A LOT LESS DISCRIMINATING ( SINCE WE ALREADY SCANNED OUR LICENSE ) MUCH MORE PRACTICAL. AND WHY SUPERMARKETS..THIS IS MORE IDEAL FOR A BYOB RESTAURANT. JUST AT THOUGHT.