It's a new year and a new name for BarWatch! I guess all the bad publicity we drummed up about their illegal scheme must have driven them to seek shelter under a new name (www.barlink.ca). Pretty crafty. They sure must think you're really dumb. You know a company is reputable and trustworthy when they have to keep changing their name.
If you don't know what BarWatch/BarLink is, you may want to go read all about them now. Your personal privacy and safety may depend on it.
This time the BarLink scum have supposedly put their focus on "your privacy", as opposed to last time where their focus was clearly stated as being the "stealing and selling of your very private information". They have been claiming to the media that every customer is informed that their information will be taken and what it will be used for. And that the customer must consent to these terms before their personal information is scanned off their ID. However, we've visited several bars that are using BarLink and this policy is not followed at all. Not even close. *GRAB* *SWIPE* "Thanks for all your info!" Same routine as they've always used to steal your personal information and violate your privacy.
You may be saying "So what? I have nothing to hide."
If that is the case then you are part of the problems currently plaguing our crumbling society. You don't deserve the last measly remnants of privacy and freedom that you still barely have. Privacy is a fundamental value in a democratic society.
"Privacy is related entirely to the degree to which we respect each other as unique individuals, each with our own sets of values which we are entitled to make known or not as we see fit. To truly respect your neighbour, you must grant that person a private life. Respecting one another's privacy means the difference between a life of liberty, autonomy and dignity, and a hollow and intimidating existence under a cloud of constant oppressive surveillance." Bruce Phillips, Privacy Commissioner of Canada, 1999
The BarLink reader actually SCANS AN IMAGE OF YOUR WHOLE ID, it doesn't just read the barcode. This enables them to steal your picture, your home address, your birthday, your height, your weight, and your signature.
Here are some plausable potential abuses of the information in the BarLink database:
The Law (and how it's being broken)What BarLink is doing is ILLEGAL! And yet it is supported by the POLICE! Under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (www.privcom.gc.ca/information/02_05_d_08_e.asp)
"*The law requires organizations to:*
* obtain your consent when they collect, use or disclose your personal information;
* supply you with a product or a service even if you refuse consent for the collection, use or disclosure of your personal information unless that information is essential to the transaction;
* collect information by fair and lawful means; and
* have personal information policies that are clear, understandable and readily available."
You can write our privacy commissioner stating your opposition to this BarLink privacy invasion system. (http://www.privcom.gc.ca/) Demand that action be taken to shut down the BarLink network.
112 Kent Street
Place de Ville
Tower B, 3rd Floor
Who are these creeps?
Tough to say exactly. Since we first started bringing attention to them these shady characters have become even more shady and are now taking steps to try and protect their own personal privacy while they profit from abusing yours. Of course they're not too bright (as evidenced by the "security" in place on their systems) and they have left a pile of evidence which shows that BarLink and BarWatch are the same group.
On their new website (www.barlink.ca) it says their "headquarters" is located at:
2037 111 Street NW
Edmonton AB T6J 4V0
WoW! Their headquartes is a... mailbox? How does your whole "team of developers and designers" fit into that tiny little mail box? And why does their website look like shit if they have a whole team of designers?
Read the original BarWatch article for more information about the slimeballs that started this system.
SecureClub.ca is another outfit peddling this scamware.
Administrative Contact Name Satnam Sidhu Job Title Postal Address box 72034 gelnmore landing Calgary AB T2V 5H9 Canada Phone 403-213-1974 Fax Email [email protected] Technical Contact Name Grant Orr Job Title Postal Address box 72034 Glenmore Landing Calgary AB T2V 5H9 Canada Phone Fax Email [email protected]
November 25, 2009, reader "Matt" writes:
21323 - 91 Ave
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T5T 6Y9
If you have any further information regarding BarLink/BarWatch, SecureClub, EnterSafe, the people behind it, or any clubs that are using it, please .
Do your part;
Be alert when entering a bar or club. Make sure they are not using BarLink/BarWatch/SecureClub/etc before allowing the doorman to see your ID. The following clubs are reported to be using Barlink/BarWatch/SecureClub/etc. Clubs using such systems clearly don't care about your personal privacy and safety at all. Call some of these places, ask to speak to a manager, and tell them you will never go to their club again as long as they use these privacy invasion systems.
Some of the bars listed only use the BarLink/BarWatch/SecureClub/EnterSafe system on Friday and Saturday nights. If this system is there for your protection, then it is quite clear they only care about protecting you two nights of the week! I guess they are more than happy to take money from clients that may have been kicked out of every other club in the city for violent behaviour as long as it's a slow weeknight.
Be Informed Protect Yourself
"Privacy is the claim of individuals, groups, or institutions to determine for themselves when, how, and to what extent information about them is communicated to others." Professor Alan Westin, 1967
Warning! Bars taking private info from cards: Jennifer Stewart, Halifax Herald, August 13, 2003.
Check out the BarWatch (aka BarLink) article in Vue Weekly (#465), page 5, July 2004.
And from Global News, December 22, 2004: Check out this citizen's complaint and how these BarLink crooks won't identify themselves. They contradict themselves by saying nobody has access to the customer's information, yet on their website (www.barlink.ca) they state that the club owners as well as other workers at bars have access to your personal information. Shady. Get your story straight guys. It is also inferred that the Police are still involved with this illegal system. Nice. Mistrust authority!
February 7, 2005, reader KPN writes: "Outlaws nightclub in Calgary uses this and I have always wondered why they needed such a system in place. I have now read both of your articles on the BarWatch/BarLink (or whatever the hell they call themselves now) and got a little curious. One evening while coming from one bar to another (Outlaws), I decided that I didn't want them to scan my ID. I gave it to the bouncers outside for the mandatory age check and simply paid my cover fee to the lady inside. She then tells me that I have to have my ID scanned, well that's when I refused her. She called over one of the bouncers and told him that I refused to allow them to scan me into their system. The bouncer then proceeded to escort me right back outside where he went on and on about how you MUST be scanned upon entrance."
March 17, 2005, reader Chaos Syndrome writes: "The Liquor Dome in Halifax is using the Barwatch system. I recently *inquired* into their practices, and was met by strong resistance ultimately resulting in my ejection from the premises, and the video tape stolen from my camera."
April 22, 2005, reader MH writes: "I'm a 21 year old university student at the UofA, and my boyfriend just
recently informed me that they weren't just scanning a barcode....no no, they're basically taking a freaking
picture of your entire licence!!! I was absolutely outraged and thought to myself "they can't do that, it's illegal!"
July 13, 2005, reader Chris M. writes: "There is another organization similar to Barlink called SecureClub (www.secureclub.ca) which provides the same sort of service to clubs."
November 26, 2005, reader 'Nicole' writes: "When I presented my ID at Stonehouse in Edmonton and asked for it not to be scanned, I was refused entry to the bar. However, my male friend who had NO ID was allowed access -- all he had to do was pay off a bouncer for $20."
January 14, 2006, reader Kelly B. writes: "I had the same experience, guy grabs your DL, hands it off to another guy who scans it without you knowing what happened, all happened just before Christmas at The Wild Coyote in Vancouver. I even called the Inspector of the Vancouver police who "oversees" this garbage and he told me not to worry they won't involve me in any marketing, what a farce."
August 11, 2006, reader Ian Miller writes: "Hi, After seeing an article from 2003 on your site by Jennifer Stewart/Halifax Herald I contacted her to do a followup on the same bar not following the privacy guidelines. Wow, I ended up in the newspaper and on TV for 2 days.
March 21, 2007, reader Andrew M. writes: "I went to this lame trendy club recently in Langley, BC, called the "Vanilla Room". Not only did they scan my ID magstripe style, they also literally SCANNED it with a scanner attached to a desktop PC. This was outside at 9pm on a cold-ass night. They actually had a full PC set up out there, and they have it every week. Fucked up. Anyway I managed to scope out the shitty LCD monitor and determined the "security" system they used is called "IntelliBar" by a company called Servall and seems every bit as sketchy and privacy-invading as BarWatch. You can see their painfully stereotypical site here: http://www.servalldata.com/ There is some info on their site about how the data from all bars that use IntelliBar is, fucking amazingly, stored on ONE server run by IntelliBar. Nice!! Now all the malicious peepz out there have one handy-dandy source for all their identity-theft needs! ( http://www.servalldata.com/features.html - notice how they also use the highly advanced Microsoft .NET 2.0 framework, oh and WIRELESS! I feel very very inclined to bring the laptop out there and see what kind of data I can sniff up)..."
April 10, 2007, Barwatch Chairman John Teti writes: "There should be absolutely no expectation of privacy." (Vancouver Sun)
November, 8, 2007, reader Loft Concert writes: "I just went to this night club and had my ID scanned. Pawn Shop at 10551 82 ave, Edmonton. I am sending the club and Barlink a letter telling them to remove my information from their systems. I will also CC copies of the letter to Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner in Alberta and The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. By the way, they didn't ask for my consent before scanning my ID into their system. Very unsettling."
November 21, 2007, reader 'Fish' writes: "and if you must go to a club in Vancouver (I usually try to avoid it :-)) you can't go wrong with the Lotus... still unpretentious (for the most part), still booking GREAT music (some of the time... but definitely on Saturdays, when it really counts!), and still doesn't have one of those "BarStarWatch" camera/fingerprint/cavitysearch units, manned by testosterone idiots and smarmy vacant-smiled coatcheck harpies... like a certain club I won't mention that I ended up in last weekend for Talvin Singh. Oh, that would make it The Modern, right? Seriously, with all due respect to Talvin and to the promoters that brought him here... DON'T SUPPORT DONNELLY NIGHTCLUBS (Republic, Bar None, and The Modern... see http://dhmbars.ca) and other clubs that use the BarWatch (aka BarLink) system, unless you want to help feed the police-state mentality! I was in shock at the security precautions there (PHOTOS taken of my ID and of me, and full pat-down/metal detector/"empty your pockets" check, even a 2nd time, after stepping outside for a smoke... not to mention the audacity to charge me $6 in coatcheck for two items, a jacket and A ONE FOOT LONG UMBRELLA that I asked if it could be "hung on the same hanger" and they said yes... what? Were they worried that it was a concealed weapon?) And if you REALLY want to get angry, imagine if after scanning your ID they then sold your personal info to marketers, so that they knew what kind of bars you like! Check out http://www.hackcanada.com/canadian/freedom/barwatch/barwatch.html if you don't believe me... and please don't tell me that "these systems are to keep bars safe from gun-toting gangsters and trouble makers..." because that's shit. I saw WAYYYY more gangster wanna-be's in that club (though without their weapons, thankfully they were safely stashed in the "VIP-only Weapon Check and complimentary blowjob" area) than I would in The Lotus or Club 23 (home of Organix), and THEY don't need BarStarWatch to keep patrons "safe". It's the worst combination of all: anti-terrorist fearmongering and shameless market-driven datamining, both of them destroying privacy and both of them not just tolerated but WELCOMED by people who are too brainwashed to figure out what's really going on here..."
December 1, 2008, reader Micahel V. writes "Good Day, I have recently embarked on a quest to have my personal information (which was collected without my consent) removed from the bar link database. It was through this quest that I discovered your web site. An interesting judgment was passed this past February by the Alberta Office of the Privacy commissioner requiring a Calgary establishment to stop using their ID scanning equipment and destroy their records. I thought it may be of some interest to the visitors of your site.
January 26, 2010, reader Chris H. writes: "I just noticed that on barlink's website they have screenshots of thier software, and under the personal information section it states RACE. I thought it was illegal to have race information collected from anyone! (I guess it helps with the marketing) And also, they show an Alberta ID of some girl where you can totally see her information. Her personal info is VERY secure."
April 22, 2010, reader Nick writes "After doing some research after catching a doorman at the Bourbon in Vancouver taking my information without telling me, I have determined that the BarWatch system has successfully rebranded itself as "EnterSafe" and is now operating incognito in quite a few bars and nightclubs around town. Interestingly, according to this, anyone using the system must give notice as information is collected, so this is effectively illegal. I've also noticed several establishments using fisheye cameras at the door to take photographs inconspicuously, again without notice or consent. This is all the more alarming because absolutely nobody knows it is happening. After grilling a doorman I got him to admit that they were collecting my information but claimed it was legal thanks to the new "24-hour" rule, which is true if they were doing it in an open and honest manner (which they are clearly not). Many of my friends believe BarWatch was shut down in 2009 and it is no longer happening, while this is clearly not the case - it is just doing it in secret, in explicit violation of the rules in 2009 which were established to allow for continued operation."
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