The Vancouver Sun reports that British Columbia’s Privacy Commissioner has decided (pdf) that “identity-scanning technology used by about 100 bars and clubs provincewide violates the B.C. Personal Information and Protection Act.”
The decision arose from a customer’s complaint about the Wild Coyote Club, a bar on Southwest Marine Drive in Vancouver, which requires patrons to swipe their driver’s licences and have their photo taken. Customers’ names, photos and ages are stored in a database.
The technology is used by Bar Watch members — a coalition of bar owners — to make it easier to identify violent individuals and deter potential violence. […]
Although the commissioner’s decision is specific to Wild Coyote — the club is required to stop collecting personal information and destroy its database of customers within 30 days — it likely has ramifications for other B.C. establishments using the technology.
Australia’s Privacy Commissioner has looked into a similar issue, as has the Calgary Privacy Commissioner. In March, Utah passed a law (pdf) that required bars and clubs to use “an electronic verification program” (basically, an ID-scanning and data-gathering system) for people who appear younger than 35. A few years ago there an uproar in New Jersey when it was revealed a club called KatManDu had scanned and kept the ID data of thousands of its customers — keeping the data for marketing purposes.