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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.

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