Australia: ID Scanners in Night Spots

Nightclub scanners spark security concerns (Yahoo Australia)

There are a growing number of calls for the Australian Privacy Commissioner to take action over identity scanners in pubs and clubs.

Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim says his office is receiving an increasing number of complaints about the use of scanners in licensed venues, and that their use is boosting the risk of identity crime.

But the Australian Privacy Foundation says the commissioner is doing little to tackle the problem.

It certainly seems like there’s a better way to do what the business establishments want to do with less identity theft risk.

Storing all of the information on an ID card is overkill. Using facial recognition, an adequately rigorous system storing just a name and a face — information insufficient for identity theft — could be implemented, though it would be slightly more expensive, and entail a bit more police work on the back end (in the event that the record was needed for law enforcement purposes). A name and a face, however, are pretty good jumping-off points for police, especially if facial recognition tools are available to be applied to government ID databases.

If the perceived risk of nightclub ID scans comes from identity thieves, facial recognition biometrics can lower that risk.

Sahara Mall Bar Owners: Biometrics Bring Fewer: Brawls; Crimes Against Women; Customers

Now, punch in before entering bars at Sahara Mall (Hindustan Times)

All those who come to the Sahara Mall bars have to punch their thumb in the computerised machines, which also records the visitor’s photograph. The machine can store up to 5,000 persons’ records, after which the data is stored in a hard disk.

The mall management was prompted to install the biometric machine in the wake of increasing incidents of brawls and crimes against women. Sahara Mall, one of the city’s oldest on the Mehraulli-Gurgaon (MG) Road houses five bars on its third floor. The spot earned a bad name due to frequent criminal cases in the recent past.

But really, a system like this doesn’t make much sense unless bar staff or security officers use the photos and fingerprints to manage a list of people who have been banned from the mall for previous bad behavior and compare people to that list as they enter. Maybe that’s what they are doing though the article doesn’t mention it. Either way, it seems to act as something of a deterrent.

But the last sentence of the article really got my attention… 

 “While the safety measures have instilled confidence among women, bar managers rue that the footfalls have declined.”

Maybe the headline should be:
Bar Owners Say Best Customers Fight a lot, Assault Women
According to one bar owner: “Since we got rid of all the brawlers and gropers this place is like a ghost town.” 
[OK, I made that quote up.]