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Sydney patrons photographed, put in database before they can order a drink

Stuff (New Zealand)

SYDNEY: First they banned smoking at the bar now you may have to be photographed before you can order a drink.

Australian pubs and nightclubs are adopting a new security system involving patrons posing for a photograph before they are admitted to premises.

Personal identification is also swiped at the door and recorded on a computer database.

Two suburban Sydney pubs have already installed the CircleScan software which creates a personal file on every individual.

Although the aim of the technology is to weed out troublemakers, it has also raised concern among customers who fear their personal details could fall into the wrong hands.

CircleScan director Michael Stanton sought to allay fears by guaranteeing information "could never be passed on to a third party.

"The details are stored in a highly encrypted database."

Stanton admitted patrons could be taken aback when they have their photograph taken by security staff on arrival but "at the end of the day this is all about people enjoying a safe and trouble-free environment".

After their photograph has been taken and their identification scanned patrons are issued with a card complete with personal barcode.

In the event of trouble, details of those responsible are logged and saved on to the computer for use as evidence by police.

Apart from reducing bar brawls, the technology is also designed to curb incidents of drink spiking.

The system will be installed in two other Sydney venues next week plus a dozen Returned Services League and leagues clubs.

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