Saturday, September 01, 2007

Australian Commissioner: ID scanners may breach privacy laws

I've blogged a few times before about the growing practice of bars and nightclubs scanning patrons' ID (see: Canadian Privacy Law Blog: New technologies for scanning IDs, Canadian Privacy Law Blog: Calgary student challenges nightclub over scanning ID, Canadian Privacy Law Blog: Article: Swiping driver's licenses - instant marketing lists?).

It appears to also be a concern for the Privacy Commissioner in Australia.

ID scanners may breach privacy laws - Queensland -


The Australian Privacy Commissioner Karen Curtis yesterday warned publicans to "seriously consider their obligations" under the Privacy Act.

"If pubs and clubs that scan people's ID fail to heed their obligations under the Privacy Act, they run the risk of breaching their customers' privacy and having a privacy complaint lodged against them," Ms Curtis said.

At least 12 licensed venues in and around Brisbane use the technology to combat what they see as a rise in alcohol-fuelled violence.


"People are understandably concerned that having their ID scanned could lead to identity theft or that their details will be used by the pubs or clubs for unrelated purposes, such as direct marketing," she said.

Ms Curtis said her office received its first complaint about the devices in 2001 - but more than 100 phone calls and numerous written complaints had been made in recent months.

Companies should take a close look at their duties under the Privacy Act, she said, which include allowing customers to interact anonymously where possible and only scanning an ID if a business can prove it is totally necessary.....

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