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Getting the cattle to tag themselves

Posted by James Hammerton @ 2:45 pm on 11 February, 2006.
Categories privacy and surveillance.
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Fancy a pint? You’ll need to give your fingerpint…

According to this report in the Times:

WITH 45 pubs and half a dozen clubs, the centre of Yeovil in Somerset can seem like the Wild South West on a Saturday night.

Groups of young people make their way from Globetrotters to The Beach or the Chicago Rock Café. If they are refused entry to one they can always try another.

Not any longer. Yeovil is to become the first town in Britain to install “biometric” fingerprint scanners in pubs and clubs that will instantly identify potential troublemakers. If it is successful, the government-backed scheme could be extended to other towns.

Five clubs, including those mentioned above, have so far signed up for the trial, which is being backed by Avon and Somerset police. The scheme’s backers hope that the rest of the town’s licensed premises will join “within months”.

Clubbers and drinkers will be asked to register by providing proof of ID and personal information including name, address, date of birth and a photograph. They will then have the print of their right index finger scanned on to a computer.

Each time a person enters premises in the scheme his or her finger will be scanned, bringing up a list of personal details. In return for participating, people will no longer have to produce means of identification on entry to nightclubs.

Although a few venues elsewhere in Britain have introduced fingerprint scanners, this is the first time they have been “networked”. If someone is identified as a troublemaker his or her details can be flashed to other licensed premises within seconds, giving doormen warning to look out for them.

And if fingerprints don’t work, I fear there is an alternative:

The old excuse ‘I’ve left my wallet at home’ will soon no longer hold when it’s your round. A nightclub is about to offer its regulars the option of having a microchip implanted in their arm that will obviate the need to carry cash or plastic.

Queuing for entry or a drink at the bar would also become a thing of the past when the ‘digital wallet’ is introduced by Bar Soba in Glasgow. The chip is already proving popular with VIP members at two nightclubs in Barcelona and Rotterdam.

While the concept strikes critics as Orwellian, others believe that, as we stride ever-closer towards a cashless society, it is only a matter of time before the chip becomes a method of fraud-proof common currency.

Brad Stevens, owner of Bar Soba, said his motivation for introducing the technology was to be cutting-edge and to reward loyal customers. He said he had received a surprisingly enthusiastic response from regulars.

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