NYC Police Urge ID Scanners
Recent news articles describe a meeting where Police are strongly suggesting that club owners in lower Manhattan purchase and use ID Scanners. ID Scanners at clubs have always been a smart move, but these recent articles continue the trend to focus on the privacy aspect or big brother aspect of ID Scanners to make articles more interesting. The real story is far less interesting. So below is what we think is the real story.
The police push ID Scanners because they do not want to see minors getting into clubs and harming themselves or others. Its not about terrorist. Its about protecting the business owners and their patrons. Police also use ID Scanners to investigate crimes at or near a club. Does anybody remember Jennifer Moore. She is one of the driving reasons ID Scanners are included in Formulating Best Practices for Nightlife Establishments by Raymond W. Kelly, Police Commissioner of the City of New York. This is the main reason the Police are pushing ID Scanners. Its not for terrorists.
Clubs purchase ID Scanners to prevent simple math errors which cause about 65% of the tickets for serving a minor. After 3 tickets an owner will loose their liquor license and the business is closed. Today states have increased sting operations to drive enforcement revenue (tickets are $1000 – $5000) and after the first ticket, clubs look for a solution to ensure staff has a tool to check IDs (and do the math!).
ID Scanners document the ID Checking process. When a minor uses an older friend’s/siblings ID to gain entry into a club and then claims their real ID was presented when challenged by law enforcement, a club needs proof that the minor did not present their real ID. Without the proof an ID Scanner provides, the owner gets the ticket and eventually loose their liquor license.
So yes ID Scanners can be collect name and address info on patrons, but consumers are protected against the mis-use of this data. See this story where NY Attorney General fined a club for sending out post cards to a mail list from an ID Scanner.