Search This Blog

Sunday, January 30, 2011

ID Scanner and Privacys - A response to recent 3 part series on ID Scanners in Canada

Canada has tougher privacy laws than the US and ID Checker were made to seem like a problem in a recent 3 part series.  The media often tries to sensationalize an issue to increase its popularity, but if you read all three stories, one will see that its just on nightclub that didn't take the time to display its data use policies.
In Canada, and I would think this also applies to the US,
Consumers have a right to know what data is being collected, how it will be used and the right to opt out.
Business have a right to collect the data and an obligation to explain its data use/storage policy (and then honor it).
To use an ID Reader in Canada, a venue must do one of the following.
1.) If the data is not being stored in a database, then using an ID Scanner is not an issue at all because its just like the bouncer looking (and immediately forgetting) the personal data on the ID.
2.) If the data is being stored, then a sign should be displayed at the ID Scanning location which says something like
  • We are using an ID Scanner to Check Age or
    We are using an ID Scanner to Check Age and for Marketing Purposes
    We are using an ID Scanner to Check Age and ....
  • We do this to protect our business and the patrons who visit our business (and if using it for Marketing purposes to contact you about upcoming events and/or specials, etc.)
  • The information collected will not be sold or rented to any outside party.
  • Optional – We will delete this information after X days – Optional
  • You have the right to opt out by simply not visiting our facility and we have the right to deny you admission to the facility.
  • If you allow your ID to be scanned, then you agree to let us use your drivers license data for the use(s) specified above.
Disclaimers – I'm not a lawer or legal expert and therefore the above comments should be checked with the legal experts in the reader’s jurisdiction.

Friday, January 28, 2011

In Canada - Allowing ID to be scanned is your decision

CTV Southwestern Ontario
Updated: Thu. Jan. 27 2011 5:19 PM ET
There are a number of small details you should take note of if you decide to go to a bar or nightclub that uses and ID Swiper, and you should also know your legal rights.
Above all, be aware that whether or not you give out personal information should be your decision to make.
CTV viewer Jeremy Yiu was upset when his ID was scanned at a night club, in large part because he wasn't warned that was going to happen or where the information was going.
Yiu was asked to leave after he asked for information about the model number of the scanner. He says he simply wanted to know if the information was being stored, and he was told it was not.
But when CTV went undercover into the same southwestern Ontario nightclub, reporter Matthew Kang was told the information wasn't deleted until the end of the night.
Margaret Ann Wilkinson, a law professor at the University of Western Ontario, says Yiu had the right to know what information the business was collecting.
"If I want to know whether a bar has records about me, I'm entitled to ask them, and then they have to tell me…People don't tend to do that, but you do have that right."
Keith O'Brien, the manager of Molly Bloom's Irish Pub in London, Ont. says that doesn't happen often, though he understands why some people would be concerned.
The bar is well-known for using scanners and makes sure patrons understand the practice, and he believes in most cases the data collection is harmless.
"I personally wouldn't worry about a small establishment, a private establishment getting your information," he says "unless they're using it for marketing purposes, that's when they're doing the wrong thing."
Questions to ask if your ID is being scanned
There are a number of things people should look for to make sure the business you're at is doing everything right:
  • Look to see if there are obvious signs posted explaining why the business is collecting personal information, and whether or not it's shared with others.
  • Ask security exactly whey they are using the scanners and what information they collect. By law they have to tell you the complete picture so you have enough information to make an informed decision.
  • If you feel at all uncomfortable with an ID scan you are allowed by law to withdraw your consent at anytime, but if you do the business has the right to not let you in.
If you're extremely concerned about where your personal information may end up, some experts say you should simply not visit places that use scanners.
Stephen Jenuth is a privacy lawyer in Calgary, he says "It can be used to virtually obtain a perfect identity theft, that last thing you want is for anybody to scan your licence."
In Ontario, if you have concerns that you'd like to report you can contact the Federal Privacy Commissioner.
Visit for more information.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

In Canada, Some uses of ID scanners break privacy laws

CTV Southwestern Ontario
Updated: Wed. Jan. 26 2011 7:08 PM ET

There are a number of factors involved in whether the use of ID scanners is above board, and when it breaks privacy laws.

While people give out personal information on a regular basis, like when filling out a contest ballot or placing an order online, there are some differences when it comes to the scanners.

And it comes down to whether you choose to go to places that you know use the scanners, and how the information is used by those businesses.

Margaret Ann Wilkinson is a law professor at the University of Western Ontario, she says much of it depends on what a business does with the information it collects.

"They can only use that information for the purposes for which it was collected," she says, "if they were using it for the purposes of making sure that people were of age, under the liquor licencing regulations, then they can't suddenly start using it to market invitations to special events."

A business must also prove it has good reason to collect and store the information.

Three years ago, the Calgary nightclub Tantra, was holding the personal information scanned for 30 days. They claimed it helped reduce crime by more than 70 per cent.

But Alberta's Privacy Commissioner disagreed with the practice.

Tantra Nightclub's Paul Vickers says "What they've done now is taken that all away from us. It is our right, our private property to protect, which is our number one concern, to protect public safety going into our venues."

Aside from being aware of whether or not your information is being collected, you should also consider when and how it is happening.

The federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act says "The identified purposes should be specified at or before the time of collection to the individual from whom the personal information is collected…orally or in writing."

At Molly Bloom's Irish Pub in London, Ont. they make the process very clear.

Keith O'Brien, manager at Molly Bloom's says, "We do legally have to have a note at the front door, explaining what we're doing and the process, and they're able to opt out of it. If they like they can choose not to have their ID scanned, but then we do deny you if we don't get your ID scanned."

Jeremy Yiu told CTV about a visit to a southwestern Ontario nightclub where his ID was scanned without his permission.

A hidden camera visit to the same location by CTV News couldn't find any obvious signs explaining the process, and security did not explain until after they were asked. Repeated requests for an interview were also turned down.

Wilkinson says if the ID scanners only read the information, but don't collect and store it, the business doesn't have to explain anything. It is essentially a machine taking on the role of security personnel.

But security at the nightclub told CTV the information was stored until the end of the night, which means they are violating privacy laws.

Wilkinson says "If it is going to a database, and they either deny or don't explain, then they are in violation of the requirements of the personal data protection legislation."

Coming up in part three: Find out what you should look for at a bar or nightclub that scans IDs and your rights under Canadian law.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Privacy concerns surround ID scanners in Canada

CTV Southwestern Ontario
Date: Tuesday Jan. 25, 2011 6:33 PM ET


The use of ID scanners at some bars, clubs and restaurants has raised privacy concerns and even led to complaints in some parts of Canada.

It also remains unclear for many people why their ID needs to be scanned by the controversial gadgets for entrance to a club or bar and some say allowing your ID to be scanned should be optional.

A complaint from viewer Jeremy Yiu prompted an investigation at CTV Southwestern Ontario. He claimed he was treated unfairly at a local club after asking why his ID needed to be scanned.

Yiu says "Without asking, he just grabbed my ID and scanned it with his portable scanner. I said ‘It's not right and you can't do it. You cannot scan my ID without my permission.'"

He was told his personal information would not be stored and he asked a manager for the scanner's model number, to research the technology for himself.

After taking down the information Yiu says "He said ‘You can go now,' and I said ‘Wow, are you kicking me out?' And he replied ‘Yeah, if you're not happy you don't have to stay.'"

Repeated requests for an interview with the club Yiu visited were denied, so CTV's Matthew Kang went undercover to see exactly what happens at the club's entrance.

The guard at the club said the scanner tells them whether or not someone should be let in, their name, age and approximate height, and it is deleted at the end of the night.

That means the information is being collected and stored, at least temporarily, which isn't what Yiu was told when he visited.

At Molly Bloom's Irish Pub in London, Ont., scanners are used in the same way, and two staff members have access to that information.

One of them is manager Keith O'Brien. He says the only time information is kept longer than one night is if someone wants to be on the VIP list or is causing trouble.

O'Brien says "That's going to deter the people who have weapons. That's going to deter the people who have drugs. It's going to deter the people who have fake IDs, the people you don't want in the bars."

While some bars and customers feel that the information should be accessible if something happens that is unacceptable, it's not the point of view of some provincial privacy commissioners.

The Privacy Commissioners of Albert and B.C. have both called for the scanning to stop at clubs and bars in Calgary and Vancouver.

B.C. Privacy Commissioner David Loukidelis says "It's not appropriate to collect the broad scale of information that you're collecting about all customers and retaining for considerable amounts of time."

Yiu, meanwhile, has written to the Privacy Commissioner of Ontario with his concerns, but has yet to hear back.

Coming up in part two: What does the law say about the use of ID scanners, the collection of personal information and your rights? Find out when a business can scan your ID and when they're crossing the line.

Article at -


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

ID Scanners - You Get What you Pay For

ID Scanners are available at various price points.  Before purchasing the least expensive Drivers License Scanner, one should understand that not all are created equal.  The less expensive units typically read only a magnetic stripe, simply display the cardholder's age and store no information.  While these seem like a good deal, they really are not. 

First, you need an ID Scanner to calculate age AND WARN when underage for alcohol and often tobacco.  Simply displaying the age gives some inattentive clerks the chance serving a minor.  A unit that displays age, alcohol/tabacco status and warns when underage is worth the investment when considering the costs of a clerk making a mistake. 

Second, you need an ID Scanner to record the transaction to prove due diligence.  The less expensive units have no memory or transaction log.  You need the memory to prove an ID was checked.  Lets say a minor uses their older brother's ID to purchase beer and then when the police investigate, the minor says he presented his real ID which says he's underage.  With transaction memory, a merchant can prove the older brother's ID was checked and since siblings look similar, would be able to claim an affirmative defense.  Without the memory, the merchant has no proof of due diligence and would be convicted of the infraction.

So before you purchase simply on price, call an ID Scanner company and ask them to compare products. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Good ID Scanner Blog

This ID Scanner Blog has Legal, Privacy Issues, ID Scanner Features, New Drivers License information, and laws related to serving age sensitive products.  See

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New 100 Bill and Fake Drivers License

Here is the new 100 Bill.  The reason the US is issuing new bills at such a rapid rate is due to how easy it is with desktop printing technology to create passible Fake bills.  The same is true of Fake Drivers Licenses.  As desktop printing technology improves, so do Fake IDs and Fake Drivers Licenses.  Its an Arms race and will never stop.  That is why having an ID Scanner is so important.  Not for catching fake IDs but for proving that an ID was checked.  Merchants can't be held responsible for catching super high quality fake IDs.  It just doesn't make sense.  In fact, the laws in most states need to be like Texas where the liablity is with the person presenting the Fake ID and not the merchant who checks and accepts a high quality Fake ID.