Biometric scanners flooding Oz pub market as fix-all solution to violence

January 30th, 2011 - 4:27 pm ICT by ANI  

Sydney, Jan 30 (ANI): Many Australian pubs have started using biometric scanners as a way to avoid troublemakers.

Thousands of clubbers and pub patrons are being forced to submit to fingerprint and photographic scans to enter popular venues, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

At the Coogee Bay Hotel, patrons not only queue for fingerprint scans, but may then be rejected on the grounds of a curious dress code, which includes a ban on stepped haircuts, a common style where there is a clearly visible line between layers of shaved and unshaved hair.

The fingerprint scanning system takes a photograph of the patron, scans their ID and takes a fingerprint, which is converted into a map of the meridian points on the print and converted into a PIN.

When a patron returns, the scanner matches the meridian points of their finger to the code to find their identity.

These pubs are exerting more power than the police or airport security by demanding photos, fingerprints and ID.

Yet one company boasts that the sensitive information collected about patrons can be kept for years and shared with other venues in the country - in what appears to be a breach of privacy laws.

Federal Privacy Commissioner Tim Pilgrim has warned he does not have the power to audit the systems and the lack of regulation has even industry players calling for tighter controls.

The Privacy Commissioner warned that: ‘Anyone using this technology should be aware that under the Privacy Act, organisations must provide individuals with notice of what will happen to the collected information. It cannot be automatically shared with other venues, even if the purpose for sharing it is the same across all the organisations.’

However, the scanning company insists there are no fingerprints kept in the system. Patrons can request their details be deleted from the system although not if they are flagged as troublemakers. (ANI)

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