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Identity Scanning by Registered Clubs
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There have been increasing reports of registered clubs demanding evidence of identity of patrons, scanning identity documents, even taking photographs, and in some particularly extreme cases gathering fingerprints.
When you seek entry to a club, it is reasonable, and in some circumstances it may be a legal requirement, for the club to ask for evidence of membership, or evidence of other grounds for entry to the club (such as residential address), or evidence of age. The kinds of evidence you might provide probably disclose your identity, but that is only incidental to the primary purpose of being evidence of membership, location of residence, or age.
If you breach the law, or the reasonable conditions of use of the club, then the club may take additional actions. Particularly if the breach is serious, such as a breach of the law, or repeated anti-social behaviour such that the club may reasonably bar the person from future entry to the club, further privacy-invasive actions may be perfectly reasonable in relation to that person, such as photographing them, and seeking their identity from the person themselves and from others, and recording the person's identity.
It is a serious breach of privacy for a club to:
These actions capture sensitive personal data, and are not justified by the circumstances.
Each identity document was designed for a particular purpose, and that purpose is quite different from purposes of clubs that are trying to abuse them in this way.
In addition, copies of cards stored in insecure systems are a wonderful way to facilitate identity fraud and identity theft.
These actions by clubs are also probable breaches of privacy law. See below.
People who are concerned about this practice should:
The federal Privacy Act includes National Privacy Principles, and Principle 1.1 says "An organisation must not collect personal information unless the information is necessary for one or more of its functions or activities".
None of this data is "necessary" for the club to perform its functions.
The Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner puts out an Information Sheet.
Some other Privacy Commissioners are more active, e.g. "Alberta's privacy commissioner has ordered a Calgary nightclub to stop scanning patrons' driver's licences" (20 February 2008).
The law of the State or Territory that issues a driver's licence may make it illegal for the club to demand a driver's licence and/or to capture an image of it.
For example, the N.S.W. Road Transport (General) Act at s. 175 says "A person must not (knowing that he or she is not by law authorised to require its production) demand production by another person of that other personís driver licence".
The law of the State or Territory in which the club is situated may regulate the circumstances under which the club is to require evidence from patrons, and may in the process also regulate the manner in which they do it. Even if they do not directly ban such actions, they may have a complaints process, which could be used in an endeavour to have the action banned.
For example, the ACT Liquor Act:
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Created: 8 March 2005 - Last Amended: 23 September 2008 by Roger Clarke - Site Last Verified: 11 January 2009
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