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“Electronic bouncer:” Bar and clubs use ID scanning systems to collect information and keep troublemakers out

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – About five bars and clubs in the Milwaukee area use an ID scanning technology called “PatronScan.”

According to the company, it only collects your name, birth date, photo, gender, and zip code when you scan your ID.

“This technology serves one primary purpose and that is to keep patrons and employees of a small business safe,” said Marko Mlikotin, spokesperson for PatronScan.

Its primary purposes are to identify fake IDs, underage drinkers and patrons who have a history of violence and sexual assault. 

If someone causes problems or some kind of “disturbance,” the owner can flag that person. 

“There are pros and cons to the issue. It’s good that you won’t have those types of people,” said Reilly Bauer, who lives in Milwaukee.

But some people say this technology would deter them from going inside an establishment.

‘Why would you want to give all that information to a bar, do you really trust them?" asked Bob Hunt, visiting Milwaukee. 

In Sacramento, a city ordinance mandates that all bars and clubs use an ID scanning system. In Wisconsin, it’s up to the individual club or bar to decide if they want to scan their customers.

The Tavern League of Wisconsin says it’s a useful tool, but it’s not for everyone.

“Obviously we oppose underage drinking, but we don’t think putting a blanket mandate on every business is a solution,” said Pete Madland, Tavern League of Wisconsin Executive Director.

In a 2013 Act, Wisconsin made it illegal for any municipality to provide any kind of ID scanning device.

The company says the data is not shared or sold to anyone. If the ID is not flagged, data is permanently deleted after 90 days. PatronScan says this gives crime victims time to report a crime so that law enforcement can go through records to identify a suspect.

“It’s public safety, and not to share or sell this information whatsoever,” said Mlikotin.

PatronScan did not specify which Milwaukee establishments use the technology. 

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