It is common for gated condominium and homeowner associations (HOAs) to utilize security personnel at entrance gates to administer entrance into a community. In this regard, it is frequent that security personnel will swipe the driver license of a guest wishing to enter the community in order to record the driver’s information to store their information in case a future need arises to contact the guest, such as a burglary or accident in the neighborhood. Some community associations use this information to run a license search to determine if the driver license is suspended or revoked in order to protect the association’s property and residents.
On July 1, 2013 a new Florida law went into effect which further clarifies the ability to swipe a driver license or identification card. Section 322.143 of the Florida Statutes provides that private entities may not swipe an individual’s driver’s license or personal identification card unless under the following exceptions:
(a) To verify the authenticity of a driver license or identification card or to verify the identity of the individual if the individual pays for a good or service with a method other than cash, returns an item, or requests a refund.
(b) To verify the individual’s age when providing an age-restricted good or service.
(c) To prevent fraud or other criminal activity if an individual returns an item or requests a refund and the private entity uses a fraud prevention service company or system.
(d) To transmit information to a check services company for the purpose of approving negotiable instruments, electronic funds transfers, or similar methods of payment.
(e) To comply with a legal requirement to record, retain, or transmit the driver license information.
As condominium and homeowner associations would not fall under any of these exceptions, they would therefore not be able to swipe a driver’s license or identification card without consent. In this regard, Section 322.143(6)(a) provides that “[a]n individual may consent to allow the private entity to swipe the individuals driver license or identification card to collect and store personal information. However, the individual must be informed what information is collected and the purpose or purposes for which it will be used.” The statute goes on to provide that “[i]f an individual does not want the private entity to swipe the individuals’ driver license or identification card, the private entity may manually collect personal information from the individual.” Id. at (6)(b). The statute is not clear, however, what rights the private entity may have if the individual refuses to have his/her license swiped and refuses to allow the personnel to manually collect personal information.
Violation of the above-referenced statute could carry a fine of up to $5,000.00 per occurrence, and thus Condominium and HOA boards are encouraged to discuss with legal counsel the impact of this statutory change if their respective associations required the swiping of driver licenses previously as a condition of admittance to the neighborhood.