Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

UK Government to investigate pub ID scanners

Published:  23 July, 2008

UK: Government data protection watchdog to investigate pubs and clubs scanning and storing consumer's personal ID amid fears the practice could lead to identity fraud.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), which protects public information, is concerned about the amount of personal information such as medical background stored on magnetic strips on items such as driving licences, which are scanned by the systems.

Richard Thomas, Information Commissioner, said in a letter to shadow home affairs minister James Brokenshire: "The key here is what the ID information is being used for.

"If it is merely to establish whether someone is over 18 then once this is established there is no obvious need to retain any details at all.

"The visits will ascertain what customers are told, what information is retained and for how long, and what the information is used for."

After the visits the ICO is expected to issue guidance to pubs and clubs.

Brokenshire had written to the information commissioner raising concerns that more than 300 bars and clubs around the country are misusing consumer's personal data under the guise of reducing violent crime and underage drinking.

He said the pubs and bars were circulating personal details, downloaded from ID such as driving licences without their customers' knowledge.

Brokenshire claimed the bars and clubs share the information with police but also use it for marketing purposes, a move one user, Regent Inns, denied.

Tam Thompson, owner of private firm IDscan, is to meet with Thomas to discuss the matter.

Please go to the discussions page to see what our readers said about the issue (discussion, 26 July 2007).