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    The Age (Australia): A big night out: drinking, dancing, fingerprinting

    The Age in Australia reports on a database of clubgoers’ biometric identification:

    Somewhere in Perth’s central business district is a building containing the names, ages, addresses, photographs and unique fingerprint codes of thousands of revellers who danced and drank at Sydney’s Home nightclub last year.

    Home, in Darling Harbour, began trialling a biometric ID scanning entry system nine months ago. Patrons lined up before six large terminals to have their photo taken, and their driver’s licence and right index fingerprint scanned. The information was copied and sent to Western Australia, where it is stored on a secured central database by the system developers.

    While Home is the only NSW venue to use fingerprint technology at present – there are 13 nationwide – various forms of ID scanning are being quietly rolled out at other nightspots. […]

    Queensland’s ID-Tect installed its first ID scanning system in NSW in 2006, but now has hundreds in drinking establishments across the country – and thousands of individuals on its centrally stored ”ban list” accessible to any client. […]

    If an individual is not on the ”ban list”, their information is deleted after 28 days. If they are, it can be stored indefinitely, and appear when visiting another pub in another city, or even state.

    ”It will pop up and show a photograph of the person, what place banned them, what for, and who imposed it,” Mr Perrett said. […]

    Not everybody is convinced ID scanning is appropriate at nightclubs. Home said NSW police suspended the club’s fingerprint scanning three months ago over privacy concerns.

    There has also been a spike in complaints about ID scanning to the Federal Privacy Commissioner, who warned there were ”major security risks” if companies held onto the data.

    The commissioner, Karen Curtis, is investigating the issue and reviewing advice to clubs to encompass the surge in new ID-capture technologies.

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