Barwatch (i.e. Big Brother)

Since when do i need to have my photo, age, weight, height, eye colour, signature and more recorded (along with my spending habits) to enter a private business? But that’s what barwatch establishments do. And if you refuse to allow them to scan your id and take your photo (although even the barwatch website states you need to give your consent), you will be denied entry under the liquor control act. And you can’t complain to the police, since they openly support barwatch.

And that’s what happened last night at the bourbon. My group offered our ids as proof of age, but asked them politely not to scan/record our personal info, and we were denied entry.

The bc privacy act says i have the right to refuse to give up my personal info under the personal information protection and electronics documents act and still not be denied service/entry at an establishment. The bc civil liberties associate has even filed a complain against barwatch – and barwatch was told to cease and desist (but they don’t have to comply with that, so they didn’t). But bars can safely hide under the liquor control act and deny anyone that doesn’t give up all their personal information to enter.

This collected information can be used however these private businesses see fit. It could even be sold, used for marketing or consumer habits, or even hacked – and has exactly enough information to an identity thief’s wet dream, since they can only get your personal information, but also get access to spending habits in the same system.

I have no problem being frisked or even walking through/being wanded by a metal detector. And i realize i’m speaking about about establishments that are technically “clients”, since i’m a musician. But i just think this is step too far. It feels a little like perceived security is trumping personal privacy, and unless we take a stand, our rights will keep eroding. There’s nothing forcing me to go to (or even play at) establishments with barwatch, so it’s now my choice to not support them in any way. I would simply ask that you think about it next time a bar asks to scan your full id and take your photo, is this worth it?

Benjamin franklin once said, “any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both”.

_United we stand,_
-LJ & Paul