Moral Low Ground

Civil Liberties

San Francisco Considers Requiring ID Scans at Public Events

April 12, 2011 by Brett Wilkins in Civil Liberties with 2 Comments

Considering the famously open culture of the City by the Bay, this one’s a real shocker: the San Francisco Entertainment Commission will meet today to consider a proposal that would require every person entering a “place of entertainment” with more than 100 attendees to submit to an identification scan and metal detector search.

Raw Story reports that the proposal would also require video cameras to be placed in event locations, and allow law enforcement officials access to the tapes on demand.

The scanned IDs would be kept for “no less than 15 days,” or, in effect, forever, if that’s what authorities deem necessary.

The proposed measure does not address the need for privacy protection safeguards.

The Electronic Frontiers Foundation, a privacy advocacy group based in San Francisco, is warning that the proposed rules would turn the city, known throughout the world as one of openness and tolerance, into a police state:

Events with strong cultural, ideological, and political components are frequently held at venues that would be affected by these rules. 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. Participants might hesitate to attend such events if their attendance were noted, stored, and made available on request to government authorities. This would transform the politically and culturally tolerant environment for which San Francisco is famous into a police state.

Raw Story reports that David Simpson, a Republican state legislator from Texas, sounded the alarm over just this sort of thing recently. “It needs to stop somewhere,” he told Raw Story. “If we don’t nip this thing in the bud it’s gonna come to our sidewalks, to our football games… This is not a left or right issue. They are treating American citizens with great indignity, and we’ve got to make this right.”

Smile, you've been scanned! (Photo: Brett Wilkins)

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2 Comments

  1. Shiva Manjunath via FacebookApril 12, 2011 at 3:41 pmReply

    do you happen to know who came up with it, in the city’s “entertainment commission”? very curious.

  2. Hope Marie Latimer via FacebookApril 12, 2011 at 4:04 pmReply

    They are trying pass similar initiatives ere in LA, like a ban on all dance/rave events at public or city owned venues.

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