Homeland Security Hits New York Nightspots

Last weekend the New York Bar Show gave liquor makers, bar managers and industry professionals the chance to sample new products and roam around the Javits Center. One of the more unique exhibitors is trying to replace the scrutiny of bouncers by pushing a technology that would make it easier for nightclubs and bars to catch fake ID’s.

Intelli-Check – SecurityInfo (https://www.securityinfo.com/) is a technology company that has built a business in ID verification and install surveillance cameras. They produce wireless handheld devices that read and analyze the data in barcodes on government issued ID (drivers licenses, passports, etc.). While their products were once confined to military bases, government installations and industrial parks, Mobilisa is now planning to provide the same technology to clubs so they can keep underage drinkers out.

While this might seem like another infringement of big brother into nightlife, systems like this are already developed and there might be a logical reason for clubs to adopt the Mobilisa system. With today’s technology, fake ID’s are not difficult to acquire. Dram shop laws traditionally hold clubs liable for serving drinks to minors and there has been an increased crackdown on fake ID’s in the past year (See Nightlife News Crime 10/19/07) so clubs need something to combat the increased sophistication of forgery. A system like this will work within the new guidelines that the NYPD worked out with the New York Nightlife Association late last year (See Nightlife News Crime 10/19/07).

With all the pressure to keep kids out of clubs, it might make sense to put less trust in a bouncer staring at thousands of ID’s in the dark (and maybe hooking up his friends) and more trust in the barcode. As long as the system doesn’t get abused by the police, telemarketers or hackers, it might help everybody.