ID scanners the latest privacy infringement for Kings Cross patrons

Why is it that all the solutions the O’Farrell government has for tackling Kings Cross violence treat every bar and nightclub patron as a potential criminal?

Premier O’Farrell’s latest idea involves compulsory linked ID scanners in every Kings Cross venue. So, you go into a bar, you have your ID scanned, and if you’re later thrown out of that bar it will register when you try to enter the bar next door, and you’ll be denied entry.

The problem with simply kicking violent drunks out of bars and refusing to let them into other bars is that it only pushes them onto the street. O’Farrell is also yet to commit to all night train services, so I’m not entirely sure where he expects them to go.

In fact, the NSW government’s war on Kings Cross began as a response to public and media outcry over a teenager who died after being punched in Kings Cross – on the street.

The Premier has floated a number of potential solutions to Kings Cross violence, none of which are the most effective – and also the most expensive – solution: more cops on the street.

The proposed ID scanners also raise a few privacy issues. NSW police will also be able to access the scanners to ‘help them identify offenders or victims when a crime has occurred.’

The O’Farrell government claims that protocols will be put in place ‘to appropriately protect and handle confidential information that venues collect using ID scanners’, but as we’ve seen today in the case of Myki, information that can be used to track individuals is routinely handed over to state police in the absence of a warrant.

O’Farrell says that ‘People who go out for a nice meal, a dance or a few drinks shouldn’t be subject to brawls, drunks and people high on drugs.’

Perhaps Premier O’Farrell should also consider that people who go out for a nice meal, a dance or a few drinks shouldn’t be treated as potential criminals before they’ve done anything wrong.

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