S.F. Considers Requiring ID Scans For Most Public Events

Thursday, April 14, 2011
By Paul Martin

By Stephen C. Webster
RawStory.com

The San Francisco Entertainment Commission was scheduled Tuesday to consider a proposal that would mandate ID scans for every person entering a “place of entertainment” attended by more than 100 people — a move that immediately sparked the fears of civil libertarians, who saw it as yet another encroachment of a creeping “police state” culture.

The commission said it would take up the proposal at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday evening, at their typical meeting place in San Francisco’s City Hall.

The proposal before members would also mandate that cameras be placed in event halls where they can be clearly seen by attendees. The systems would also need to be freely accessible to local, state and federal law enforcement on demand.

The rules make no mention of safeguards to protect the privacy of event patrons. They would instead require that scanned IDs and video footage from the venues shall be kept for “no less than 15 days” — meaning, they would be able to keep the information forever.

It would also mandate that all event attendees pass through a metal detector.

The Electronic Frontiers Foundation, a San Francisco-based privacy non-profit, warned that the rules would ultimately change the city’s culture and infringe on Americans’ civil liberties.

“Scanning the ID’s of all attendees at an anti-war rally, a gay night club, or a fundraiser for a civil liberties organization would have a deeply chilling effect on speech,” they cautioned in a Monday advisory. “Participants might hesitate to attend such events if their attendance were noted, stored, and made available on request to government authorities.

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