Booze and privacy

February 22, 2008 at 10:41 pm 3 comments

It’s interesting to see how booze seems to bring up great questions of identity and privacy. Or maybe it’s just the Canadians?

Canadian Dick Hardt uses buying booze as an example in his famous Identity 2.0 presentation and makes very interesting points about using ID, such as a drivers licence, to buy booze.

Now comes another angle from Canada involving booze: if your ID is scanned when entering a bar, would that make you behave? That was one of the issues at the heart of a case decided by the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta.

The Tantra Nightclub in Calgary had a practice of scanning driver licences before allowing people in. Clearly it is collecting and storing personal information as it includes an individual’s photograph, license number, birth date, address, and bar codes with embedded information unique to the individual driver’s license.

The club says that “We’ve got hard data that it works, we have inthat says crime and violence is down in our venues by over 77%.” On the other hand, the Information and Privacy Commissioner described ID scanning as a deterrent to violent behaviour “conjecture” not backed up by hard data and ordered the club to stop the practice.

In terms of consent, the only thing that the complainant agreed to was the club confirming his date of birth off the licence.

This is precisely the kind of situation that the Laws of Identity frowns upon in digital identity systems, in particular User Control and Consent; Minimal Disclosure for a Constrained Use; and Directed Identity. And another example of unjustified expectations from ID cards that knowing a person’s identity somehow magically solves most societal problems.

Entry filed under: Canada, ID_cards, personal_info, privacy.

UK: Just chip ’em NZ: Data breach guidelines here

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Temporary Test Blog » Blog Archive » Booze and privacy  |  February 22, 2008 at 11:49 pm

    […] Original post by Vikram […]

  • […] to New Zealand’s Identity and Privacy Blog for the latest in… news about Canada:   It’s interesting to see how booze seems to bring […]

  • 3. Ron  |  February 26, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    Interestingly enough… the news article doesn’t tell the even half of the story!

    There are dozens of bars in Alberta that use a system called Barlink.

    This system is or should be completely illegal.

    Besides the fact that they once scanned my ID without permission, they store it and transmit it without having any government oversight as to the security and protection of the information. Why on earth would a bar bouncer need this information?

    At the incident in question, I was asked for my ID to enter the club. I assumed it was to determine my age. Without any visible warning or verbal mention, the bouncer immediately took it and scanned the entire card digitally!

    I got upset then, but didn’t really say anything because I heard the bars had this system to protect themselves.

    I was then told it was a $10 cover charge to enter the bar, and I told them I wasn’t interested because I was going in for 10 minutes while we waited for a movie to start.

    I then asked them to remove my information from their system, and they refused. I told them I wanted to speak with the manager, and the bouncer told me he was the manager. (I knew he wasn’t because he seemed to be stretching the truth about a lot of things he was saying).

    As I walked out, the manager walked in and I told her I wanted my information removed from their system. She refused, and told me to leave or else they would call the police!

    Needless to say, I was totally flabbergasted and felt very violated and concerned over possible identity theft.

    They don’t scan it when you leave, so they don’t even know if you were even there during any sort of “incident” anyways. Had there been an incident there that night I would have been considered as a potential “suspect” even though I never set a foot into the bar!

    I eventually got the number for Barlink, and sent them a request to remove my information from their system. They never responded to my request (it was over 8 months ago).

    There are reports that someone high up in the Police Department has been involved or assisting this corporation in getting their systems into the bars and helping them stay out of the limelight.

    Personally, I think this should be illegal, and that someone should be investigating Barlink itself (and the people helping them maintain this illegal operation), and not just one bar (the ruling and investigation so far has only been against ONE bar).

    The management of Barlink has already stated that it is “business as usual” with them. They do not think there is anything wrong with what they are doing, and feel they are above the law!


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