Violation of privacy?

BBC Newsbeat posted an article earlier today about bouncers asking people at the door to check their facebook pages as well as their I.D. Is this a bit over the top and invading your personal life?

Some door staff have commented saying, “Why is it so wrong for people to have to prove the ID is actually them? If you’re not doing anything wrong you shouldn’t have a problem.” This statement is quite true as, the bouncer is only going to be checking your name and photo, like they do with an I.D, it’s only if you’re using a fake that you should be alarmed.

Young adults in Southampton and Ireland have received this treatment, such as Charlotte Neal, 20, from Southampton who said the first time she was asked she didn’t even think about it.

A doorman from Worthing said that he thinks that the fine for letting someone in and serving them alcohol who’s underage is around £5000, so no wonder some doormen are asking to see their Facebook pages, especially when, even if the person is 18 or above, their pictures may not look like them any more.

In my opinion, I think this is a great idea, however some teenagers who have fake I.D end up changing their Facebook names as they following the clubs they attend on Facebook anyway, especially when they want to be on the guestlist.

Nick Pickles, from the campaign group Big Brother Watch, said he was against the idea of checking Facebook accounts.

“Not only is it ridiculous from a security point of view, it’s an affront to the basic rights of people to be able to live their lives in private,” he said.

Pickles goes on to say that they should make sure people have good quality I.D.s and that nightclubs shouldn’t use the excuse to snoop into other people’s lives just because of a bad quality.

However, how exactly are bouncers snooping into their lives? They are just asking to see their Facebook page, therefore this statement seems a bit ridiculous. In addition to this, most clubs nowadays have equipment which checks to see if the identification they are using is real, and this is why the bouncers need to check Facebook pages at times. Not because of a fake I.D, but because teenagers are borrowing one another’s I.Ds as well as using those they find in clubs.

In addition, Paul Martin-Beades, the director of Akira Training, which trains about 250 door staff a year, said checking Facebook accounts was unacceptable.

He said all staff approved by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) are taught about the law and human rights and would know it was wrong.

“Only the people involved can say why they do this but they would never have been taught to do it.”

I think that it is acceptable for bouncers to ask to check someone’s Facebook if they really believe it is necessary, but do you think the same?

If you were in their shoes, what would you do to avoid your club being fined £5000 for serving underage drinkers? When that amount of money is at stake, taking a couple of seconds to check someone’s Facebook doesn’t seem unacceptable, especially if they are unsure if you’re lying about your identity.


2 thoughts on “Violation of privacy?

  1. Sophie,

    Checking someone’s ID is an artform.. As a door supervisor with a lot of experience, I have had to resort to all sorts of measures to detect underaged patrons passing themselves off as adults, Facebook being a tool that I have used in the past.

    The problem with any method that I can think of is that after word gets around, children are very quick to cotton on and I have to think of other ways to catch people out. The problem with fake ID and borrowed ID is endemic, and I regularly catch children who have already been out in town on a regular basis despite being as young as 14 in some cases!

    Contrary to popular belief a driving license or passport is not a particularly good way to verify someone’s ID. The picture is actually quite small, and during the mid to late teens the physical appearance can change quite substantially. A far better card is the CitizenCard which has a much bigger picture to compare and carries the ‘PASS’ hologram which is a trademark and therefore a criminal offence to copy. Ironically I know of many pubs and clubs that refuse to accept them!

    Anyway, I appreciate your commonsense approach to this problem and not just jumping to the conclusion that door supervisors are perverted thugs that want to make everyone miserable… I would also point out that as a door supervisor I have never heard of a colleague being fined for letting someone in who was underage… Because you can’t fine someone for that.. You can fine someone for selling alcohol to a minor, but that is a different thing entirely.

    If you would like anymore info or advice for your blog on this matter, please don’t hesitate to send me an email.

    Kind regards,

    1. Hi Pete,

      Thank you for commenting on my piece, and I meant that as a fine for serving minors but I shall add that in to my blog so that it’s clear.

      I can’t actually believe the amount of people who try and get into clubs as being 20, I know that clubs are not all they’re cracked up to be.

      But thank you, if I need any more information or have questions later on, I shall contact you.



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