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Bars' Scanning of ID Violates BC Privacy Laws 198

Posted by kdawson
from the drinking-in-private dept.
AnonymousIslander writes "The Information and Privacy Commissioner for the Province of British Columbia has ruled that electronic scanning of driver's licenses (and similar forms of ID) as a condition of entering a bar or nightclub is a violation of BC's Personal Information Privacy Act. The decision (PDF), while dealing with one specific club, will still have ramifications across the entire province. It is not known if the nightclub in question will attempt to appeal the decision in court. A similar decision was reached last year in Alberta. The system in question is known as BarWatch, and has been the target of criticism by many for a number of years. Despite this, a number of bars/nightclubs and restaurants in communities across Canada have installed similar systems, and just days before this decision came down there were calls for the expansion of BarWatch in Victoria to cover restaurants and other establishments serving the post-bar crowds." Similar systems are in use across the US, as we have discussed.
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Bars' Scanning of ID Violates BC Privacy Laws

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  • Liability (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sanosuke001 (640243) on Friday July 24, 2009 @04:50PM (#28812499)
    A bar should not be liable for someone using a fake ID that looks real. If the ID looks genuine, the picture looks like the person using it, and it says they are of age, that should be as far as it needs to go. If the person gets caught, they should have to take responsibility for their actions. Why did bars think this system was a necessity in the first place?
    • I just wanted to make it clear that my last question was rhetorical. I know what the reason was; and this privacy issue, as good a reason as it is to get this system out of bars, shouldn't have occurred in the first place.
    • Re:Liability (Score:5, Interesting)

      by garcia (6573) on Friday July 24, 2009 @04:54PM (#28812605) Homepage

      Why did bars think this system was a necessity in the first place?

      Because those boxes store the personal information of the IDs that are scanned, usually in an XLS file which are easily shared across businesses or used for selling information to third parties--that's why.

      • by adolf (21054)

        And this, boys and girls, is why I always nuke the magstripe on my ID using a strong magnet. It's easy: Just take a small neodymium magnet (available at any hardware store or inside of any hard drive if you don't already have one), wipe it back and forth across the stripe a few times, turn it over, and do it again.

        I started doing this the first time the clerk at a store swiped my ID through their register while I was buying beer and paying with cash. They (the corporation, not the clerk -- he's an alrigh

    • Re:Liability (Score:5, Informative)

      by thenewguy001 (1290738) on Friday July 24, 2009 @05:04PM (#28812785)
      I can't speak for other jurisdictions, but this barwatch program in BC was enacted in response to a rash of nightclub shootings in recent years in which gang members got into fights with other patrons or were killed in targeted hits in which innocent bystanders were wounded or killed. The ID scan is to identify persons known to police in a database and refuse them services or entrance to the premises. The ID scan itself is already of shaky legal status, but the most troubling issue here is that the ID information from the scan (name, address, etc) is retained by the club in a private database.
      • Re:Liability (Score:4, Insightful)

        by markdavis (642305) on Friday July 24, 2009 @05:13PM (#28812917)

        So it has nothing to do with trying to enforce drinking ages. Instead it is just more "paper's please" government tracking of citizens.

        I am sure that will make everyone there feel even better about being branded cattle...

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by hysma (546540)

          So it has nothing to do with trying to enforce drinking ages. Instead it is just more "paper's please" government tracking of citizens.

          I am sure that will make everyone there feel even better about being branded cattle...

          Nope, that all came after the Privacy Commissioner did his investigation. Originally the police were all about this how it would help them track down gangs and the clubs were all about how this would help them fend off repeat trouble makers.

          • by mpe (36238)
            Originally the police were all about this how it would help them track down gangs and the clubs were all about how this would help them fend off repeat trouble makers.

            If there are repeat troublemakers at the same club then maybe the bouncers need better training. Also clubs (and police) can work together to ensure that trouble makers can be identified by people working in clubs (and hopefully put where they belong). Without hassling every customer.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          It's mostly to do with Asian and East Indian gangs, and it's only in certain, known bars where they hang out (bars that have "gone Asian", in local parlance). Before the mass immigration of the '90s, stuff like this was unknown here, and we existed in a naively happy bubble.

          And this is not a troll, by the way. BC has changed a lot, and not for the better, even though it's "evil" to say so.

          - posting anon to avoid the beating I'll get from PC people

          • Re:Liability (Score:5, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 24, 2009 @07:35PM (#28814509)

            Many Greater Vancouver residents blame certain visible minorities for most of the crimes in their communities, but police and academics say the statistical evidence contradicts such racial stereotypes.

            Nearly two-thirds of respondents to an Ipsos Reid poll believe some ethnic groups are more responsible for crime than others, and they put Indo-Canadian and Asians at the top of their lists....

            In an interview Tuesday, Vancouver Police Insp. Kash Heed, commanding officer of the department's district 3 -- southeast Vancouver -- said actual statistics show the reverse of the poll findings.

            "In the Lower Mainland, the majority of crimes are committed by Caucasians," he said.

            http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=6e62449a-b98a-4387-ad58-bf41461a1048&k=41287

            • the majority of crimes are commited by whites...

              Perhaps because they are the majority?

              The capatalist United States spends more on social security then the socialist Netherlands. Well duh, 360 million people vs 16 million.

              You can make numbers say almost anything if you are not careful.

              If say morocans (the dutch problem minority) commit 100.000 crimes and the dutch commit 1.000.000 then you would foolishly claim that the dutch are more criminal. Two problems. The dutch figure would include some morocans a

          • It's mostly to do with Asian and East Indian gangs,

            So, what's your point precisely? That only caucasians should have the right of privacy? I really can't figure out what your post has to do with markdavis's post about "papers please" that you responded to.

            - posting anon to avoid the beating I'll get from PC people

            Lol, so you do think that asians don't deserve the right of privacy. Thanks for clearing it up.

            • by Pig Hogger (10379)

              So, what's your point precisely? That only caucasians should have the right of privacy?

              Well, to racist whites, all gooks or niggers look the same, so scanning the IDs would recognize those who would need to recognized

        • Except it isn't done by the government, it's done by a private corporation.

          Flip this around - you own a small bar, should you have the right to refuse entry to people who are likely to cause violence? It's your property, right? And in order to verify identity, shouldn't you be able to request that the person supply some ID? After all, they're free to say no and go elsewhere.

          • by markdavis (642305)

            >Flip this around - you own a small bar, should you have the right to refuse entry to people who are likely to cause violence? It's your property, right?

            I could flip it around too....

            As a bar/store/business owner, should you have the "right" to refuse entry to people who:

            1) are of a certain color?
            2) are a certain sexual orientation?
            3) are of a particular religion?
            4) are of a particular political party?
            5) are wearing clothing?
            6) have speeding tickets?
            7) have done jail time?
            8) don't allow you to search the

          • by mpe (36238)
            Flip this around - you own a small bar, should you have the right to refuse entry to people who are likely to cause violence? It's your property, right? And in order to verify identity, shouldn't you be able to request that the person supply some ID?

            "Identity" isn't much help in knowing if someone is likely to cause violence. Recognising them as a "trouble maker" from a previous visit or even "gut instinct" is a better guide. Having them produce a document which tells you which type of cars they can drive
      • Re:Liability (Score:4, Interesting)

        by boris111 (837756) on Friday July 24, 2009 @05:37PM (#28813281)

        The ID scan itself is already of shaky legal status, but the most troubling issue here is that the ID information from the scan (name, address, etc) is retained by the club in a private database.

        I have received junk mail as result of my ID being scanned at a night club in PA. Luckily that night club has since closed and I no longer receive it. Ironically, they had to close because of fines from serving too many underage drinkers over time. They also lost business because of regular police raids. Who wants to keep going to a club where there buzz is killed from a police raid.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        >>>The ID scan is to identify persons known to police in a database and refuse them services

        Illegal search by the government without warrant.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Illegal search by the government without warrant.

          Only if the clubs in BC were run by the government, and the card was not surrendered voluntarily.

          • If this BarScan program is *mandated* by the government, then effectively the bars are being run by the government. And that makes it an illegal search without warrant.

            Aside-

            I don't know how it is in Canada, but in the United States you only need to show your drivers license if you are physically inside a car. If you're just walking down a street, a cop cannot make you show your drivers license, because you're not driving. Nor can they force you to show an ID without warrant/probable cause.

            • by mpe (36238)
              I don't know how it is in Canada, but in the United States you only need to show your drivers license if you are physically inside a car.

              And presumably in the driver's seat and on a public road. Or can a "passenger license" be required as well?

              If you're just walking down a street, a cop cannot make you show your drivers license, because you're not driving.

              A pedestrian isn't required to have one, either on their person or even at all...
        • by Dare nMc (468959)

          Not sure whats Illegal in the search? If I consent, the police can legally search anything I own. I assume the only issue is using a state ID to achieve the purpose, and by a private company, and retaining the information without proper disclosure. I sure hope a bar is allowed to retain photos of those arrested/banned from their private property, and use that information to prevent re-entry/trespass. I would further say, expanding this system so that clubs can further protect themselves, and sharing thi

          • A bar, restaurant, homeowner, or any other private place can demand ID as a condition of entry (or refuse service), but once you are inside the building they can't suddenly decide, "We changed our minds. We want your ID."

            If they've allowed you to enter without ID then they must allow you to leave without showing ID as well.

            • by Dare nMc (468959)

              strange laws, completely different than in the US.
              un-related to the original story though which is about recording your id at entry. No reason to then re-check, like happens to me in the US constantly.

      • by Animaether (411575) on Friday July 24, 2009 @05:41PM (#28813361) Journal

        Apparently I can't just walk into any ol' country club. I have to show my membership card. I get my membership card by applying. Part of the application process is showing some form of ID, another part is laying down a bunch of moneys, being in good standing, blabla.
        How come that is legal, then?

        As a result - and I know the answer is 'no', but I'm curious as to -why- it is 'no' - couldn't any ol' bar simply offer 'guest membership' by means of, say, a stamp / wrist band, where the 'membership process' includes showing some form of ID, costs the patron, say, $2 (which goes toward a complimentary membership drink), and the membership duration lasting the entirety of the patron's stay?

        • by RsG (809189) on Friday July 24, 2009 @06:08PM (#28813691)

          Apparently I can't just walk into any ol' country club. I have to show my membership card. I get my membership card by applying. Part of the application process is showing some form of ID, another part is laying down a bunch of moneys, being in good standing, blabla.
          How come that is legal, then?

          As a result - and I know the answer is 'no', but I'm curious as to -why- it is 'no' - couldn't any ol' bar simply offer 'guest membership' by means of, say, a stamp / wrist band, where the 'membership process' includes showing some form of ID, costs the patron, say, $2 (which goes toward a complimentary membership drink), and the membership duration lasting the entirety of the patron's stay?

          Part of the answer is, we give country clubs far less grief than they're due, because many of their members are influential. And they still catch hell when they enforce membership rules that are very obviously racist, though that happens less often than you might think.

          However, in this specific case, you're comparing apples and oranges - the situation in BC is not akin to a country club barring non-members. Once the law gets involved in a situation like this (which it did, since they were tying the scans to police databases), the system becomes subject to legal oversight. Cops, legislators and the like are bound by higher laws concerning basic rights for the people, which were very obviously being violated here.

        • by rhizome (115711)

          couldn't any ol' bar simply offer 'guest membership'

          Well sure, but then they'd lose impulse business brought in by foot traffic.

        • by LargeMythicalReptile (531143) on Friday July 24, 2009 @09:56PM (#28815453)

          Legally, the difference between a bar and a country club is that the bar is what is frequently referred to as a semi-public space [wikipedia.org]. That is, it is private property, but is open to the general public. Restaurants, shops, etc. typically fall into this category.

          Owners of semi-public spaces do have some rights to control their property (e.g. enforcing a rule that they'll kick you out of the store if you don't buy anything, or a movie theater not allowing kids into a theater hall that is currently showing an R-rated film). However, they have fewer rights over the property than owners of private spaces do (e.g. they can't prevent someone from entering solely based on their race).

          A country club is typically a fully private space--while there are procedures for gaining access, the general public is excluded. A bar is a semi-public space--there is a general expectation that it is "open to the public" (subject to legal age restrictions). Your proposal of "membership" might be seen as an attempt to make a bar a letter-of-the-law private space. IANAL, but I'd expect it to fail in one of two ways:
          1) Someone could legitimately argue that the temporary "membership" is basically a farce and the bar is still a semi-public space, since the general public can--and, indeed, is desired to--still access it by gaining trivial membership.
          2) There may be zoning restrictions involved. Bars are frequently located in commercial zones; cities may require any businesses operating in the area to be semi-public.

        • by gmhowell (26755)

          Because judges belong to country clubs and don't want the undesirables to be there.

        • Informative article thanks for the link.

          "There is no rational justification for why retention of all of this data from everyone who comes into the club.⦠There really isn't," said Vonn.

          I love how he thinks just repeating this over and over will make it true even though they already said why it was necessary. Definitely lawyer think. I honestly hope cooler heads prevail and they keep the scanners. Here's an idea if you don't want your id scanned don't go to places that do it. Or choose to act in a civilized manner. They should not be selling the data but working with police and other public records systems seems perfectly reasonable and necessary to

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by rashanon (910380)

        Its used in Vancouver to keep the gang bangers out, because right now they are all at war to take control of the blossoming drug trade. In Victoria its used to keep out the small cadre of drunks an malcontents who go from bar to bar to bar just getting more drunk. Its a private bar. If you don't like the fact that you have to provide ID then dont go. You dont have a right to go to the bar. no bar owner gives a shit who you are demographically, they care if you have already been tossed out of another bar

      • by mpe (36238)
        I can't speak for other jurisdictions, but this barwatch program in BC was enacted in response to a rash of nightclub shootings in recent years in which gang members got into fights with other patrons or were killed in targeted hits in which innocent bystanders were wounded or killed. The ID scan is to identify persons known to police in a database and refuse them services or entrance to the premises.

        All that would be likely to happen would be that black market gun dealers would also provide fake ID docum
    • that should be as far as it needs to go

      Yup. And most bars know that as far as I know. This is how under-aged people get in so easily, and bars get away with it. They check the age, and the quality of the card. They don't really care if it is real or not.

      These guys scanning are scanning to retain information. If they weren't, then they're working too hard for no return.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Korin43 (881732)
      I don't know how it is in Canada, but here if a bar gives alcohol to someone underage (even if they have the most perfect ID ever made), they can still get fined and lose their liquor license.
    • Why did bars think this system was a necessity in the first place?
      • To keep out people such as myself who have occasionally had heated yet articulate discussions with other bar patrons regarding legitimate personal issues of great interest.
      • So they can send "targeted" junk mail. For example, I've been getting catalogues from companies selling brass knuckles, guns, pickup trucks, and fish stickers (you stick them on the back of the car and they have magnetic ones too). It's hard to resist spending money.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by slazzy (864185)
        Sometimes bar workers would like to know where those cute girls live so they can follow them home later. Scanning their address into their computer makes it much simpler.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by b4upoo (166390)

      How about issues like people on parole who are not allowed to enter bars? It seems to me that there is no downside to anyone having information and it is not just bars that should be using this technology. How about gas stations running checks on people that buy gasoline? How many felons could be caught by use of such technology?

      • by fafalone (633739)
        How many felons could be caught if police were allowed to search anyone's home to id people without cause? How many could be caught if we had id scans for all vehicle occupants to gain access to the roads? Let's have squads of id swiping police walking the streets stopping random people doing nothing suspicious, entering all their info into the database, think of all the felons and fugitives we'd nail!
        Better yet, let's implant everyone with a gps tracker at birth, that way we can monitor everybody to make
      • by dryeo (100693)

        We don't have felons in Canada, at that I think the rest of the world has left behind that relic of feudalism.
        We also think that there is a downside to people having private information taken and even have a thing in our charter of rights about unreasonable searches which includes bars and gas stations trolling for information which they share.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 24, 2009 @04:53PM (#28812583)

    Bars personally really don't give a shit about the client's ID. They are _forced_ to be uber diligant about this by the government, because, if God forbid, they let an 18 year old get a beer they face anything between losing their license and jail time. Governments also consistently ruled that if someone gives the barman a fake ID and they fall for it, it's still the barman's fault and not the fakers. So obviously they have to implement fascist mechanisms of ID checking, otherwise they'd be forced out of business by the government.

    Now the same government goes around and says their ID checking is too strict (while obviously not alleviating any of the burdens which it imposed on bars on checking IDs in the first place). Hey government geniuses, if you'd like bar owners to not violate their client's privacy, maybe relaxing your age-proving rules would be a good place to start?

  • by clarkkent09 (1104833) * on Friday July 24, 2009 @04:54PM (#28812599)
    Cause it seems a bit unfair to impose ridiculously stiff penalties, including suspension of license, on clubs for serving underage persons, but then deny them any tools that might confirm someone's age, apart from looking at the date on an easily faked driver's license. Let the parents, not bartenders, be responsible for their childrens behavior.
    • Not only that, it's a bit retarded for the government to put unencrypted data on a magnetic strip on the card and expect no one else will use it. I've been giving bars my credit card for years to pay for drinks. It's not like my information being in their hands is a new thing, and if the line moves quicker, then great. No, the bars are the least of my worries. My question is why is the government forcing people to carry their personal data in a manner that is not secure?
      • by Dare nMc (468959)

        My question is why is the government forcing people to carry their personal data in a manner that is not secure?

        You do realize that all the information on the magnetic strip has always been available in written form on the front, correct? Without the magnetic strip the process would likely be slightly more time consuming, and slightly more costly requiring a OCR of the ID first. The magnetic strip would make it slightly more difficult for fake ID makers as well (ok, just means they need to be somewhat hi-tech.)

        • You do realize that putting it on the strip makes it feasible to record the addresses of every bargoer in your establishment, while writing that stuff down is far too slow and obvious, right? The OCR thing might work, but it's far more hassle than you think.
    • by dryeo (100693)

      This is about Canada, the bars are not keeping these records to prove they checked that underage drinkers ID. They're keeping it in case you piss off a bouncer, maybe hit on their girl friend, maybe get rowdy. Then sharing it with all the other bars to make sure you can't drink anywhere.
      In theory not a bad idea. In practice... especially if they keep all these records indefinitely and perhaps sell them.

  • These guys want that info to sell. Make as much off that as for selling drinks if they do it right. good on
    • by Dan541 (1032000)

      The same thing happens in Australia.

      We have places that Record your ID, Take photo and video, take a voice print and fingerprint scan.

  • Privacy indeed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by markdavis (642305) on Friday July 24, 2009 @05:04PM (#28812791)

    Really? You mean that keeping records of people intending to drink alcohol, the time, the location, who you might be going with, and hold onto that information for some unknown time, and share that information with unknown people or organizations.... you mean doing that could be considered a violation of an individual's privacy??

    It still amazes me that people that live in countries that supposedly support an individual's rights allow themselves to be treated like branded cattle this way.

    To the legislators that create such stuff, and to the people who support such legislation: Keep on waxing that slippery slope...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Brett Buck (811747)

      Hey, if I am running a bar I am scanning/Xeroxing the license. If you get charged with serving the underage, and you *don't* have a scan, you are dead in the water. You need proof that you had an ID that checked out. Period. If you don't want to provide an ID, there are plenty of places to get drunk aside from bars.

              Brett

      • by markdavis (642305)

        Perhaps the police should then rely on good old-fashioned police work instead of trying to force a police state where private businesses are required to do it for them.

        Undercover agents can "test" bars and fine them severely. That should be enough. Liability on the part of bars should be limited to what is "reasonable". Scanning or copying ID's is simply not acceptable.

        • This has nothing to do with saving the police work, it's saving your own ass when you get accused. The crime is serving alcohol to minors. If you are accused of serving alcohol to a minor, and you in fact did because they have a fake ID, you had damn well better be able to prove they had it and defrauded *you*, otherwise, you are stuck.

                  Brett

          • If you read the posts above about strict liability, it doesn't mean shit if you can prove that they gave you a fake id. The bar owner is still fucked. And good luck taking the kid to court, I'm sure you'll be able to squeeze lots of money out of them for 'defrauding' you.

            The OP's point stands - the government has placed unreasonable requirements on bar owners making them essentially an extension of law enforcement. Those requirements are not compatible with a free society.

            • by dryeo (100693)

              We're talking about Canada, not the States. Here I believe that as long as the bar showed due diligence in checking ID they are not responsible for under age drinking. And yes the liquor control board does test bars to make sure they do show due diligence and they will lose their licence if they don't.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    a bar needs one question answered:

    is person older than legal drinking age. period.

    they dont need name, age, address, hair color, who you arrived with, weight, etc.

    • hair color...weight

      Yes, they do. In fact, they need an actual photo of you. So they can confirm that you are the person on the card.

      Now, what should happen is that your address shouldn't be on the driver's license at all.

      The police should be able to pull that out of the DL database, and no one else has the right to know where you live. That, frankly, is an idiotic holdover from when police did not have databases, and should have gone away mid-nineties. (If someone has a legitimate need to know where you live, for example if went to a bar and skipped on on your tab...that's what small claims court is for.)

      Same with age, that should not be on a license, except underaged people should have that clearly marked on their DL. Although it should just be an 'Under 18' or 'Under 21' unless they specifically want their birthday on there. Same with elderly people, who could have 'Over 55' or whatever on their license if they want.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday July 24, 2009 @05:12PM (#28812911) Homepage Journal

    I am not a number, I am a free customer!

    You will treat me as such, or I will take my custom elsewhere.

  • by i_ate_god (899684) on Friday July 24, 2009 @05:17PM (#28812969) Homepage

    I'll support this decision when the laws concerning kids change.

    Here are two dangerous scenarios, both of which take place in an age-restricted venue.

    #1) You go home with the cute girl. You don't worry about this person's age since the legal age of the venue is 18 (Quebec), 19 (rest of Canada), or 21 (USA). Well, turns out you were wrong, and now you're a branded sex offender for life. Your only recourse is to sue the bar to oblivion for not doing its job filtering out the kids, forcing the bar to start being more strict, including scanning IDs.

    #2) You just got paid, feeling generous, go out to a bar, vibe is good and everyone is having a fun time. Your table of friends somehow merges with another table of strangers and everyone is getting along. So, you buy shots of vodka for everyone in celebration of such a great night. Only then, the police do a spot check on the bar, find out you bought alcohol for a minor, and get thrown in jail. Your only recourse is to sue the bar to oblivion for not doing its job filtering out the kids, forcing the bar to start being more strict, including scanning IDs.

    When you're in an age restricted venue, that does not allow you to be innocent when you do something that somehow "violates" a minor that's also in the same venue. When the laws that facilitate this "guilt" change, then maybe I'll care a little more about the "privacy implications" of a bouncer being able to truly verify the age of an incoming customer.

    • by hysma (546540) on Friday July 24, 2009 @05:39PM (#28813339)

      I'll support this decision when the laws concerning kids change.

      Here are two dangerous scenarios, both of which take place in an age-restricted venue.

      #1) You go home with the cute girl. You don't worry about this person's age since the legal age of the venue is 18 (Quebec), 19 (rest of Canada), or 21 (USA). Well, turns out you were wrong, and now you're a branded sex offender for life. Your only recourse is to sue the bar to oblivion for not doing its job filtering out the kids, forcing the bar to start being more strict, including scanning IDs.

      In Canada feel free to have sex with any girl who's over 16. But you'll be thrown in jail if you take photos. For photos, you've got to wait until she's 19. But sex, no problem at 16! Oh and they just moved that up from 14 a couple of years ago...

    • by dryeo (100693)

      Actually for scenario #1, there was a famous case back in the 50's IIRC where a guy picked up a minor in a bar. Believed that she was of age, she was in a bar at a time when the drinking age was 21. Got caught fucking her and charged with statutory rape. The judge was very apologetic as he sentenced the poor guy to 5 years but the law was the law.
      Anyways after this they changed the law so that believing the girl was of age was a valid defence.
      Of course I wouldn't be too surprised if the law had been changed

  • by SydShamino (547793) on Friday July 24, 2009 @05:22PM (#28813033)

    Most of the comments on this story so far (about a dozen) are in support of customer privacy.

    In contrast, last week, most of the comments on a similar story about Canadian privacy law were in favor of the business. In that case, though, the business itself was online (Facebook), whereas in this case, the business is brick & mortar & alcohol, and only the data is online.

    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/09/07/17/1346209/Facebook-Violates-Canadian-Privacy-Law [slashdot.org]

    Do you, the Slashdot reader, have a different opinion about these two cases because of the case differences? Or did the posters of all of last Friday's comments go on vacation this week?

    • Yeah, Facebook sucks and is very morons, and scanning peoples' IDs at bars sucks and is nothing more than a blatant and liberty-hating attempt to destroy our rights.

    • by BitterOak (537666)

      There is a huge difference between the two cases. The Facebook case was about a website allowing others to view information voluntarily posted by its members. You aren't required to post any personal information to have a Facebook page. You can even use a fake name.

      In this situation, you are required to hand over your driver's license and have a lot of personal information scanned as a requirement for purchasing a drink.

      I can't speak for the entire "Slashdot community", but I'm actually more opposed to t

  • by n3r0.m4dski11z (447312) * on Friday July 24, 2009 @05:29PM (#28813153) Homepage Journal

    Some of you are perhaps missing some information regarding this case.

    The id's were being taken not because of age issues, it was due to a rash of gang violence in vancouver and the lower mainland of BC. The bars decided to start scanning peoples IDs and running them against a police/RCMP database. This in turn, it was hoped, would keep people with active warrants and such from frequenting bars and causing a ruckus.

    As other have pointed out, it has been somewhat effective as there has not been any shooting in clubs downtown (insert tiger rock analogy here). The downside is that all these innocent people have to submit to police state type actions in order to go to MOST bars in downtown vancouver (mostly on granville st, club district).

    I myself have been denied entrance for asking too many questions regarding data storage policies and complaining about the system. Most people do not seem to care and will hand over their DL as well as be photographed. I have watched many people hand over ID without a second thought. They scan the mag stripe and put it into their private database. How long do they keep the data? I do not know, as I was escorted out for asking that and other questions.

    THis is a real win for privacy in BC. If you read the CBC fourms however, you can see that many so called citizens do not care two shits about privacy as long as they have their preacious illusion of security.

    • >>>you can see that many so called citizens do not care two shits about privacy as long as they have their preacious illusion of security.

      Well as I just said in another post, they WILL care when the experience Identity Theft because Bubba the bouncer and Bert the barman took the swiped ID and the swiped credit card & combined them together to become Sally the sorority girl (or some other customer).

      Then I suppose these idiot citizens will want to cry and blame everyone else, except themselves.

    • Yeah, actually, I went to a bar tonight, and they scanned my driver's license. This was in San Mateo California. I really could not think of any reason to not give it to them. Even if they keep it forever, I actually don't care. Maybe someone else can tell me a reason I should care, but I doubt it.
      • Read the post directly above yours. In brief - they can gather information off the black strip of your drivers license, combine it with your credit card, and commit Identity Theft.

  • by jklovanc (1603149)
    Most of the problems in bars in Victoria are caused by a very few people. They cause a problem at one club, get kicked out, go to the club down the street and repeat the process. They ruin the evening for everyone around them but they don't care because they just want to make trouble. Maybe if they were banned from every bar if they caused trouble in one tey would think twice before causing that trouble. Since when is making trouble at a bar a right?
    The system is designed to inform all bars who have the s
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by acidrainx (806006)

      And what happens when some bartender/server/bar owner has a grudge against someone and throws them on the banned list out of spite? Now somebody who is perfectly innocent can't get into any of the bars in Victoria.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by chappel (1069900)

      just think about trying to get that number as you are throwing someone out.

      Out of curiosity... how do they get that information off the person being thrown out to know which of the hundreds of patrons that came in that night make the 'banned' list? Wouldn't the person actually need to get arrested, such that the information on the list is retrieved from the police?

    • by Dan541 (1032000)

      Why use drivers licenses?

      If bars want a system like this why not have some form of membership card?

      People can then use that card on the bar/club network.

  • WTF.....? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by IHC Navistar (967161) on Friday July 24, 2009 @05:54PM (#28813533)

    I've worked at a couple of bars here in the US and we scanned ids. But, the scanners we used were small, portable handheld units that just read the magstripe to see in the data contained in the magstripe matched the information printed on the front of the card. The only contact with the outside world that the unit had was the tiny AC power cord used to charge the batteries.

    I can see the benefits of scanning cards, as it is very easy to duplicate DLs. However, I don't see how you need to completely read someone's info and feed it into an online database just to check their age.

    In the US, if a counterfeit ID that can fool any reasonable person is used to illegally purchase alcohol, and the bar serves the alcohol, the person who made the purchase is held fully accountable, and not the bar. This protects bars from having to worry about every single ID being counterfeit, as counterfeiters are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

    I think the system of electronic scanners that just verify magstripe data with printed data on the front of the card is sufficient, since a counterfeit card that looks legit AND fools scanners will also fool any resonable person.

    I don't see where Little Brother Canada thinks that everybody should have to punch in to a database whenever they want to go out for a night on the town.

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      "I don't see where Little Brother Canada thinks that everybody should have to punch in to a database whenever they want to go out for a night on the town."

      Actually, the story is about Canada deciding that everybody should NOT have to punch in to a database whenever they want to go out for a night on the town.

      That country down below however, has not.

  • This court decision is just plain stupid! How much privacy should you expect about your age when the laws require you to be of a minimum age to enter the establishment? The scanning box should simply have 2 lights -- green to enter and red to be barred -- and that's all the information the bar needs to know. Once we establish what they need to know and what they don't need to know then there shouldn't be a privacy issue because if you want to protect your privacy about your age then just don't enter.
    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Did you even read the summary? The privacy laws are just fine with looking at someone's drivers licence to confirm their age. I expect they're also probably fine with scanning the barcode to make sure the information lines up. What the court has said is not okay is scanning everybody's license, storing the data in a private database and matching it up with police databases.

  • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Friday July 24, 2009 @06:30PM (#28813933)

    After all, it's not as though I've never encountered a bouncer who's a rage-driven, 'roid-crazed whack job with delusions of adequacy, a two-figure IQ, and an ironclad belief that every woman in the world desperately wants access to his shrunken little dick. Exactly the kind of person I want having access to my sister's personal information. And if there's ever been a "security system" in a bar that couldn't be defeated in five minutes by a bartender with a Grade 8 education and a weakness for white powder, I've yet to see it. So I wouldn't be all that confident that the twitchy little guy in the corner with the laptop and the Klingon Vengeance Blade isn't paging through the personal data of everybody on the premises even as I try to hide my "Trekkies Are Assholes" t-shirt.

    The day I surrender the contents of anything on a mag strip to the lack-wits, thieves and bottom feeders who infest your average bar is the day I move to Iran and stand on a street corner with a megaphone and invite Ali Khamenei to blow me.

  • I live in Vancouver. Whether you get 'scanned' depends a lot on where you want to go. If you want to go to a dance club ("Night at the Roxbury") with $10 martinis in the Granville Entertainment District, or a high-end strip bar then yes you'll need to get scanned to get through the door. If you want to go to a pub with your buddies and have a few pints and watch the hockey game, or go to a seedier strip club, then no, you won't get scanned. The clubs that have these scanners have large signs telling you
  • You can of course choose to live in a dream world where everyone should be free and is free and that just works.

    In reality, bars have two problems.

    A: Minimum legal age for drinking in a bar. As a society we seem to want this enforced rather then leaving it up to the individual to handle their own freedom responsible. Crazy I know. Surely 12yr olds are mature enough? Because a law without bards has no meaning and we are to wishy washy to lock up underage drinkers we created a REALLY odd situation in that

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