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Bars' Scanning of ID Violates BC Privacy Laws

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the drinking-in-private dept.

Privacy 198

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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198 comments

Liability (4, Insightful)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 3 years ago | (#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?

Re:Liability (1)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 3 years ago | (#28812541)

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 (4, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 3 years ago | (#28812605)

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.

Re:Liability (5, Informative)

thenewguy001 (1290738) | more than 3 years ago | (#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 (3, Insightful)

markdavis (642305) | more than 3 years ago | (#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:Liability (2, Informative)

hysma (546540) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813213)

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.

Re:Liability (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28813251)

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 (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#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

Bob's Quick Guide to the Apostrophe (Re:Liability) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28813385)

Everybody's favorite grammar teacher: Bob the Angry Flower [angryflower.com]

Re:Liability (3, Interesting)

boris111 (837756) | more than 3 years ago | (#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:Liability (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813303)

>>>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:Liability (2, Informative)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 3 years ago | (#28814035)

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.

Re:Liability (1)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 3 years ago | (#28814087)

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 this with other private clubs sure makes sense to me, especially in a area known to have issues. Although I only know US laws and that all Vegas casinos deploy a similar system, legally I assume. The only difference is they have deployed it using only video cameras, and people to do the identifications.

So how does a country club work, legally? (3, Insightful)

Animaether (411575) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813361)

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?

Re:So how does a country club work, legally? (4, Insightful)

RsG (809189) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:So how does a country club work, legally? (1)

rhizome (115711) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813799)

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

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

Re:So how does a country club work, legally? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28813989)

actually no not by his description of the process they wouldn't.

Re:Liability (1)

jeffliott (1558799) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813577)

Wait...There are gangs in Canada? What is the world coming to?

Re:Liability (1)

Icaarus (1499831) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813657)

There were more gang related deaths in Edmonton than Washington state one year. Idon't remember which year, it was just one of those statistics news people threw around that was scary and memorable.

Re:Liability (1)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813109)

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:Liability (2, Informative)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813159)

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.

Re:Liability (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28813179)

The whole point of this system is so they can flag patrons who cause problems, and ban them from every bar instantly. The police also like it so they can figure out who your acquaintances are to combat the non-existent "gang" violence we have here in Victoria. It's all about big brother and tracking. This system has nothing to do with liability whatsoever. That part of the story was only mentioned AFTER they had problems with the privacy laws.

Re:Liability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28813553)

In Victoria it's definitely quieter, sure, but It's faaar from non existent elsewhere in the lower mainland.

Re:Liability (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28813917)

For what the word of the bouncer is worth (a good friend of ours, though), he tells me that it's so that if some shit DOES go down in the bar, they have a snapshot of his ID, which can pretty damn useful in catching said person.

Re:Liability (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813535)

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:Liability (2, Insightful)

slazzy (864185) | more than 3 years ago | (#28814015)

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:Liability (2, Interesting)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813959)

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?

Between a rock and a hard place? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#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?

Re:Between a rock and a hard place? (0, Redundant)

schon (31600) | more than 3 years ago | (#28812839)

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

[citation_needed]

Re:Between a rock and a hard place? (5, Funny)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 3 years ago | (#28812905)

Re:Between a rock and a hard place? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28813199)

Why oh why when I've had mod points twice this week haven't I saved them for this.

Re:Between a rock and a hard place? (3, Informative)

dissy (172727) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813979)

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

[citation_needed]

http://www.kansascity.com/637/story/1322917.html?storylink=omni_popular [kansascity.com]

Holiday was fined $500 by the Kansas Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. His customer was arrested in March 2008 for being a minor in possession of alcohol and for presenting police with a fake driver's license. He paid $452 in fines and court fees.

Holiday being the bar owner.

P.S. You really should check out this new site called Google [google.com] . It lets you confirm such simple queries in less time than it takes to type the question (0.12 seconds in this case) instead of asking on a forum and having to wait minutes to hours for a reply.

Re:Between a rock and a hard place? (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 3 years ago | (#28812939)

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.

Please cite the relevant law or court ruling.

Re:Between a rock and a hard place? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28813097)

http://www.eia.gov.bc.ca/lclb/licensing/laws.htm#id_requirements

1/2 true.

2 pieces of government ID required to enter any bar, there are signs up ALL over the place in BC telling you about this.
Minor with fake id, $115 fine for the minor.

Re:Between a rock and a hard place? (2, Interesting)

profplump (309017) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813397)

You've really never heard of strict liability in relation to the underage consumption of alcohol? Have you heard of google?
        http://lmgtfy.com/?q=%22strict+liability%22+sale+alcohol [lmgtfy.com]

Here's one example, from California, in the first page of Google hits:
        http://law.onecle.com/california/business/25658.html [onecle.com]
Which was enacted in 1998 and upheld in court by 2002.

And that's far from the only example. Many jurisdictions have even enacted strict liability laws against private-residence underage consumption -- where simply "failing to prevent" underage consumption is a crime, even if you didn't provide the alcohol, or did not have reason to believe that it would be consumed by underage individuals.

Re:Between a rock and a hard place? (2, Interesting)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813415)

Just use Google:

http://www.dailyillini.com/news/campus/2009/06/02/bars-pay-price-for-underage-drinking [dailyillini.com]

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20282532,00.html [people.com]

http://hawkonomics.blogspot.com/2009/05/iowa-city-bar-restrictions.html [blogspot.com]

And that was just the beginning. Bars get shut down for serving underage people. It doesn't matter if they check the IDs or not - if they are fooled by a fake ID they can be shut down. It is almost never the underage person's fault, and even when they are charged, it is a fine and little else.

For the bar owner, it can result in the loss of the business.

Re:Between a rock and a hard place? (3, Funny)

compro01 (777531) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813717)

Perhaps I should have been more clear about what to cite.

None of those links are relevant to this case, as IL, NY, and IA are not in British Columbia, Canada.

Re:Between a rock and a hard place? (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813983)

I stand by the notion that anything that involves two people is public information. In the strict sense only that which remains only in one's own mind can be considered private.

Re:Between a rock and a hard place? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28814135)

Any piece of information is the property of those who are stakeholders regarding that information.

The set of stakeholders is the set of a country's residents, when the information in question deals with affecting the whole country. Two simple examples is information regarding the use of tax dollars, or information related to public law or policy, to which all residents must adhere, voluntary or not. A more complex example is a corporation's policy and history concerning waste disposal or pollution -- if it affects disposing of waste or pollution of the whole country (or the whole planet), then the whole country or planet have the right to know that information.

In the case of a private contract between any number of individuals, which does not affect people outside of that contract, the public has no right to know the details, and the parties to the contract hold exclusive ownership of the information.

Leads to relaxation of underage drinking laws? (3, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Leads to relaxation of underage drinking laws? (1)

darkvizier (703808) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813147)

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?

Re:Leads to relaxation of underage drinking laws? (1)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 3 years ago | (#28814201)

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.)

don't forget,, you herd it here first? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28812661)

that's all quite interesting butt... (Score:mynuts won; too gooed to believe?)
by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 24, @02:23PM (#28810153)

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1912448,00.html

there have been no (as in zero (0)) genuine clouds for several years now. kind of skews the projection about 100% or more.

sort of the same method used to inform US that we might not all be billyonerrors ever again, or we might not win the increasing # of wars.

Verify My Ass. This is data mining pure & simp (1)

Dr_Ken (1163339) | more than 3 years ago | (#28812683)

These guys want that info to sell. Make as much off that as for selling drinks if they do it right. good on

Same thing in Alberta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28812747)

They want to scan in driver's licenses and then share the info among all downtown bars so that if you piss off a bouncer at one bar (are you hitting on his girlfriend?), you can get yourself banned from ALL bars
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2009/04/22/cgy-alberta-clubs-bars-info-id.html [www.cbc.ca]
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2009/04/28/cgy-bar-watch-safety-security-cameras.html [www.cbc.ca]

Privacy indeed (5, Insightful)

markdavis (642305) | more than 3 years ago | (#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:Privacy indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28813227)

The really truly nice thing about living in this country which supports an individual's rights is that the bar owner is free to implement this, and I as the consumer am free to drink elsewhere, or even to open my own bar.

Re:Privacy indeed (2, Insightful)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813243)

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

Re:Privacy indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28814139)

its called your word. i.e. I swear I ID'ed him and he produced a valid looking ID, valid enough for me to serve him liquor. Its not my fault he isn't producing the ID upon the police request.

Stop being a pushover Brett.

bar needs only one yes/no: is person = legal (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28812795)

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.

Re:bar needs only one yes/no: is person = legal (4, Interesting)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813805)

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.

I wouldn't go in anyway (3, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#28812911)

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

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

Re:I wouldn't go in anyway (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28813139)

Unfortunately, 99 out of 100 people either don't understand the whole privacy thingy at all, or don't care enough to actually "go and take their custom elsewhere". For the last 1%, businesses figure out its financially better off for them to lose one custom rather than change their business model. So go ahead, take your custom elsewhere, the problem is that you probably won't find anyone to actually take your custom to.

Re:I wouldn't go in anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28813171)

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

You make a sound point, #153816.

Re:I wouldn't go in anyway (1)

tunapez (1161697) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813211)

Your money is your only vote that counts. I refuse to let them swipe my ID when I buy alcohol or tobacco, I even accidentally road-rashed the mag strip & bar code off the back. Oops.

Re:I wouldn't go in anyway (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813865)

Georgia DL have a sort of static looking back that's actually a bar code. I tried to find a picture but couldn't.

Someone, I don't know who, has taken a sharpie and randomly put in about 50% more of the little dots than should be there. Oops.

I have no idea what the hell that's for, I've never seen anyone try to scan it, and cops read off the number. (OTOH, I don't go to a lot of big bars or nightclubs. It's a small town, the biggest place can probably seat 50 people, and usually seats two dozen.)

Re:I wouldn't go in anyway (1)

hysma (546540) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813289)

No you won't since there is nowhere left to go! That's the problem...

Re:I wouldn't go in anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28813823)

False dichotomy.

As the pervasive surveillance network of our society grows so to does the recursive underground which rejects it.

I haven't had photo id for many years and yet I have no problem finding a bar to serve me, a store to sell me cigarettes, or a bank to cash my cheque. Photo ID is a trap, go ask Blank Reg.

Of course if I want to leave my country legally I need a passport (nevermind I've driven between Canada and Mexico and never passed through anything resembling a proper border for years)... and to think, we used to ridicule the USSR for their check-stops and requirements of travel papers. Seems we've become the evil empire to me.

Re:I wouldn't go in anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28814187)

That's part of the problem in Vancouver in particular and in BC in general though. There are very few night clubs since the provincial government and city of Vancouver have decided that they don't want to give out cabaret licenses anymore and haven't in at least 10 years (and have in fact taken back some old licenses). This means that for the population of the area, there are relatively few nightclub establishments that are mostly owned by 3 or 4 groups (such as the Donnelly Group, or Mark James Group) and they have brought these systems in to all their establishments. There are less than a dozen independent locations that have held out from implementing the Barwatch system so you may just find yourself not having anywhere else to go, unless you really don't care what kind of music/scene is going on.

Re:I wouldn't go in anyway (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#28814575)

you may just find yourself not having anywhere else to go, unless you really don't care what kind of music/scene is going on.

Those who would give up essential freedom for a little temporary music and scenery deserve neither.

Re:I wouldn't go in anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28814525)

Next in line step up and present your personal information to the machine please...

What's the problem? (3, Insightful)

i_ate_god (899684) | more than 3 years ago | (#28812969)

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.

Re:What's the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28813047)

This is just fear mongering baseless shit, #1 can happen anywhere so you're not solving that.

#2 you don't get thrown in jail the bar would be responsible for allowing a minor in.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

i_ate_god (899684) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813149)

#1) It can happen anywhere, but it should never happen in an age-restricted venue. You should be completely free of guilt because you should assume that anyone in an age-restricted venue is an "adult". That is simply not the case.

#2) The bar didn't serve the minor, you paid for it, the bar served you and then you passed it on to a minor, and in this scenario, you did so for free.

Re:What's the problem? (4, Informative)

hysma (546540) | more than 3 years ago | (#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...

Interesting Comparison to Online Privacy (2, Interesting)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 3 years ago | (#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?

Re:Interesting Comparison to Online Privacy (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813067)

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.

Re:Interesting Comparison to Online Privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28813151)

I think the main difference is that, in the Facebook thread, the users voluntarily supplied their personal info when they signed up for a FB account.

This bar, OTOH, is effectively stealing personal data right from people's hands without securing any consent whatsoever.

Re:Interesting Comparison to Online Privacy (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813197)

Aren't the bar patrons voluntarily supplying their personal information when they hand their ID over to the bouncer with a scanner?

Re:Interesting Comparison to Online Privacy (1)

erbbysam (964606) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813419)

Aren't the bar patrons voluntarily supplying their personal information when they hand their ID over to the bouncer with a scanner?

You cannot get into the bar in most cases without handing it over to be scanned. To reference the comparison to online privacy, you do not need to provide your driver license number (or anything personal info) to FB to "get in". Also, FB, in a perfect world, would be be able to use that information to help you relate to people, while all the bar is using it for is to log people's activities. /.'ers probably don't like the idea of being tracked by non-voluntarily databases, not the idea of voluntarily handing over information.

Re:Interesting Comparison to Online Privacy (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813425)

Ya know some of those scanners can be used to steal your credit card numbers. So you hand them your ID with your social security number encoded on the strip. Then at the end of the night you hand them your credit card which also gets swiped.

Then the Bubba the bouncer or Bert the barman put these two pieces of data together and steal your Identity.

Re:Interesting Comparison to Online Privacy (1)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 3 years ago | (#28814185)

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 the laws that push bars into this kind of intrusive behavior in the first place. In many states and provinces, bars owners and managers can be charged criminally (never mind just losing their liquor license) for serving anyone under age even if they present a valid-looking fake id. Absent such laws, the marketplace would probably discourage bars from scanning licenses, as people probably would prefer not to give up such personal information. But because of these laws, it's hard to find bars that don't engage in that practice, and once scanned, they can sell your information in secret and you'd never know which bar did so. So I'd be all in favor of letting the bars put whatever silly requirements they want as a condition of entry, but let's get rid of the draconian laws which encourage bars to collectively implement such measures.

Its not about AGE restrictions! (5, Informative)

n3r0.m4dski11z (447312) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813153)

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.

Re:Its not about AGE restrictions! (1)

Skyppey (196275) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813437)

This has me quite excited for my move to BC. All too often we are asked to provide this piece of identification or that one, but how often do we question the need to provide it. I'm guilty of this the majority of the time, I'm sure. The default answer to providing personal information beyond the norm should be, "no." And, then after a chat with a manager a comprimise, a justification or an explanation of what is done and will be done with the information, should be given. Props to the complainant who brought this to the Privacy Commissioner.

Re:Its not about AGE restrictions! (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813481)

>>>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.

Re:Its not about AGE restrictions! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28813783)

They just need to have police details like they do over here in the states, problem solved.

Keep the Idiots out. (2, Insightful)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813341)

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 system that someone has been banned. The simplest way to do it is to use drivers license numbers as they are unique to each person. Now one may say that they should only track the license numbers of individuals who cause issue but just think about trying to get that number as you are throwing someone out. You also have to check to see if they are banned as they come in.
As for miss-use of the information, there are plenty of civil and criminal penalties to make that not worth the risk.

Re:Keep the Idiots out. (3, Interesting)

acidrainx (806006) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813507)

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:Keep the Idiots out. (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 3 years ago | (#28814079)

That is a risk. There is also a simple solution to that; slander laws. Just point out to the bar in question that what is happening is slander and they could be sued for quite a bit of cash. They will change the database quite quickly.

Re:Keep the Idiots out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28814121)

Yes, just one of many innumerable misuse scenarios.

Re:Keep the Idiots out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28813537)

There are a number of civil and criminal penalties that should prevent people from fighting, urinating, etc.. but people still do anyways so I don't see your argument about misuse. There's no way to know when your information was misused that's why this sucks.

Re:Keep the Idiots out. (2, Interesting)

chappel (1069900) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813689)

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?

Re:Keep the Idiots out. (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813943)

Because it is on the scanned license. The system has a search function by height, weight, gender etc. The bar can pull up a list of possibles and then compare photographs from the DL.

Re:Keep the Idiots out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28814437)

with BarWatch, you get to the front-door bouncers who scan your ID on a flatbed scanner then it will tell them instantly if you are banned or were recently banned at another bar...etc. still... the bouncers can just say HEY watch out for that dick in the leather jacket with spikes stickin out everywhere to all the other bars the old fashioned way.

Still going forward (1)

technicalandsocial (940581) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813451)

A few other items of note:
- Even though the privacy commissioner ruled it against PIPA, the Victoria based bars have decided to go ahead with the program, showing they don't respect the privacy of their clients, or the privacy commissioner himself.
- They will not be scanning all patrons, only those they deem as a risk. Can't wait for the human rights commission complaints over that one.
- A list of bars I will now permanently boycott are listed at the bottom of this Times Colonist article: http://www.timescolonist.com/Bars+swipe+patron+collect+data/1773848/story.html [timescolonist.com]

WTF.....? (2, Interesting)

IHC Navistar (967161) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:WTF.....? (1)

courtjester801 (1415457) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813897)

Just a couple of quick points to consider.

The laws are different from state to state, even within a state. Utah, for example, the bars can (and do) get sued for fake IDs. There wasn't a lot of personal responsibility for someone with a fake until this past legislative session.

Secondly, having had a hand in producing some scanning software to work with Utah Law (there are only so many items you're allowed to pull out of the license from the mag stripe or the bar code), what gets pulled also differs from locale to locale. For example, here you're not allowed to pull address or SSN. British Columbia likely has the same constraints, as do most states in the Union.

And finally, it's really not that difficult to fool a scanner. I had one test card that looked legit; Utah's State Seal hologram was fine, the plastic was not obviously tampered with, paper looked fine as did the type, but upon scanning the information printed on the card was obviously not what was coming out of the display using information pulled from the barcode. A "22" year old white male from Provo was, according to the software, a 37 year old female from Ogden; so just having a red light/green light system would not work. Take into consideration, none of this interacted with an online database. Information on the bar codes and magnetic stripes are ridiculously easy to read and code/decode.

Side note, it's Friday, it's quitting time, so I'm going to go make sure my license works at a few fine establishments with loose womens and beer.

Bars - in Utah ??? (1)

daryl_and_daryl (1005065) | more than 3 years ago | (#28814277)

It has been a while - the last time i was in Utah there were only private clubs. You had to be a member of the club. Every ad on the radio ended with "this information is solely for the benefit of members of 'bar'.

Re:WTF.....? (1)

IHC Navistar (967161) | more than 3 years ago | (#28814379)

Speaking of counterfeit IDs in Utah,

I lived in Utah for a year or two during high school and remember back in 1998-99 where people were breaking into DMVs and stealing cameras, printers, and paper because they couldn't replicate the holograms and stuff. I suppose now that technology has advanced that criminals are able to replicate the holograms and stuff on their own without having to steal supplies.

Missed the point (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 3 years ago | (#28814029)

This is not an ID verification system; it is an system designed to deny service to bad patrons.

Just Plain Stupid (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 3 years ago | (#28813797)

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.

Re:Just Plain Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28814149)

Brilliant!

Now if only you had read the article and had a clue about why people are concerned. It has nothing to do with the "privacy" of one's age and everything to do with the totality of data being collected such as driver's licence numbers, photos, etc.

Hurr durp.

This sounds like a great idea... (2, Funny)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Victoria Resident... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28813969)

Well I am from Victoria and I will just say that Victoria has a huge music scene, and that is the only reason I will ever enter a bar anymore. Having to swipe your ID before entering the bar will make me do that a lot less, and literally never for another reason.
Bar watch victoria has stated that it will continue scanning ID's and has stated that the ruling on the vancouver club was under different curcumstances (wrong) Big brother is creeping ever closer in Canada and BC. I want this program to be stopped once and for all.

Wrong fight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28813987)

Alcohol use helped make me the person I am today. I would not trade the experience, and I am very fortunate to have been a teenager at a time when alcohol use was not so forcefully or so universally prohibited. I feel sorry for the current generation, I really do.

It really depends where you want to go... (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 3 years ago | (#28814373)

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 as such, and the cameras are fairly obvious.

I don't really have an issue with it as I don't have to patronize those bars if I don't want to.
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