Canadian Bars Require ID Swipes, Create Blacklist

Some bars in Victoria, British Columbia are requiring patrons to swipe their ID cards, then using the data collected to compile and enforce a blacklist of customers who previously have been involved in fights, been kicked out of other bars, or are involved in gangs.

The Victoria Times Colonist reported July 9 that 13 bars are involved in the Bar Watch initiative, and data is being retained from between 24 hours and one year. Bars are swiping drivers’ licenses and electronic ID cards, as well as taking photos of patrons for their files.

However, B.C. privacy commissioner David Loukidelis is investigating the program, and a similar effort in the province of Alberta was ruled a privacy violation. A compromise in Alberta now allows bars to take patrons’ name, age and photo, but not scan IDs.

Privacy groups worry that data from IDs could be used for identity theft or fraud.

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