Have you ever had too much to drink at a bar or nightclub and been asked to leave? Have you or your friends ever mouthed off to the staff or been hit on by a bartender? Have you ever Yelped or Tweeted about bad food or service?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you will be mortified to learn that Big Brother knows exactly who you are.
According to an article in OneZero, the service industry has been quietly using PatronScan to scan the IDs and faces of 500,000+ bargoers.
“PatronScan collected and retained information on over 10,000 patrons in Sacramento in a single day. Within a five month period, that added up to information on over 500,000 bargoers.”
PatronScan otherwise known as Servall Biometrics Inc. is first and foremost a biometrics company that makes its money collecting biometric data of service industry patrons.
Bars, nightclubs and pubs have used PatronScan to create a blacklist of 40,000+ customers. Who are, on average banned for 19 years from local establishments!
“Using PatronScan, our venues have placed over 40,000 people on our shared Banned Patron list.”
PatronScan has such a cozy relationship with law enforcement that they warn customers, “their personal information may also be provided to us from a law enforcement agency.”
Doesn’t it make you feel all warm and snugly, knowing your local bar or club could be working with law enforcement?
Bars and nightclubs share blacklist of customers
According to OneZero,
“PatronScan logs where customers live, the household demographics for that area, how far each customer travelled to a bar, and how many different bars they had visited. OneZero readily shares the information it collects on patrons, both banned and not, at the request of police.”
Being banned from one bar in a city or town means you are banned (blacklisted) from other participating establishments.
“When you see the notification that a patron has been banned from another venue you get a clear picture as to what happened so you can keep your venue and your patrons safe.”
To make matters worse, law enforcement has also created a national database, masquerading as a non-profit that tracks every alcoholic purchase you have made.
The database is called the National Liquor Law Enforcement Association or “Place of Last Drink.”
“NLLEA President Justin Nordhorn, said the NLLEA received federal money to develop a nationwide database that will allow law enforcement officers to input information about where an intoxicated person was drinking before a crime, incident or alcohol-related crash.”
With PatronScan, police will know who you are and which bars or clubs you frequent. With the NLLEA they will know what you had to drink. How is that for Orwellian?
Service industry is being turned into min-surveillance centers
When is the last time you entered a restaurant, bar or nightclub and asked the manger about their surveillance cameras? When is the last time you asked a doorman or the manager about what they do with your personal information?
OneZero’s article warns,
“Many bars also have internal surveillance systems, which track customer trends and catalog granular data on purchasing habits. Those tools are growing increasingly sophisticated, with obvious benefits to venue owners and law enforcement.”
NBC 6 warned that letting bars scan you drivers license puts all your personal information at risk.
“With just a swipe of your ID, computers can pull your personal information from it giving it to the companies and facilities you visit, including your date of birth, address, height and weight.”
According to the ACLU, drivers licenses contain much more information than you are being told.
Drivers license barcodes, “contain your name, address, date of birth, hair color, eye color, height, weight, gender, license expiration date, organ donor status, driver’s license number, fingerprint, medical information, and driver classification code.” (To see a detailed list of what drivers license barcodes contain, click here.)
The privacy implications for allowing your ID to be scanned by a bar or nightclub are clearly not worth the risks.
As NBC 6 warned, “the security experts we spoke to recommend you ask security to write down your information or take a photo of your ID instead of swiping it.”
Matt Cagle, a technology and civil liberties attorney with the ACLU of Northern California said, “When you create a confidential ban list, that’s an invitation for businesses to pretextually exclude people because of who they are.”
And that is the problem with companies like PatronScan, Suspect Technologies and law enforcement watchlists. Businesses and police do not need a reason to place someone on a banned list or watchlist and that should scare the hell out of everyone.
If Big Brother has its way — and it certainly appears like it does — Americans will soon find themselves living in a mirror-image of China where everything we do and everywhere we go is scrutinized.