Turned Away at the Door
A new smartphone app presents another hurdle for would-be underage drinkers to clear. But will it work?
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The Responsibility Project
Like most people who grew up near the beginning of the age of relatively convincing computer-generated fake identification, I’ve seen some really bad fakes – and increasingly convincing ones. Why bother trying to use an older sibling’s ID to get into a bar when your tech-savvy friend can make one good enough to slip past the eyes of hurried bouncers?
But, as Discovery News points out, “Technology giveth, and it taketh away.” A new mobile app called BarZapp allows you to verify the legitimacy of an ID right at the door by simply scanning the code found on the back of almost all identification cards.
Nelson Ludlow, CEO of Intellicheck Mobilisa, the Washington company that developed BarZapp, told Discovery News that every state (as well as most Canadian provinces) puts a bar code on the back of its ID cards. The code, called a “PDF 417” both holds more data and is harder to read than the ubiquitous QR codes.
For those who argue that the app constitutes a violation of privacy, Ludlow explained that the app reveals only the name and age of the person being checked – without showing more sensitive information, such as his or her address. BarZapp also comes with a database of pictures showing each state’s driver’s license, eliminating the need for bouncers to memorize the details of the various ID formats.
Of course, it won’t be long before someone finds a way to foil this new technology, but it seems like a good fix for the time being. Would you like to see BarZapp’s technology widely adopted to turn away would-be underage drinkers, or are you skeptical of its effectiveness? Weigh in here.