SAFFRON HOWDEN
Sydney Morning Herald

March 27, 2010

SOMEWHERE in Perth's central business district is a building containing the names, ages, addresses, photographs and unique fingerprint codes of thousands of revellers who danced and drank at Sydney's Home nightclub last year.

Home, in Darling Harbour, began trialling a biometric ID scanning entry system nine months ago. Patrons lined up before six large terminals to have their photo taken, and their driver's licence and right index fingerprint scanned. The information was copied and sent to Western Australia, where it is stored on a secured central database by the system developers.

While Home is the only NSW venue to use fingerprint technology at present - there are 13 nationwide - various forms of ID scanning are being quietly rolled out at other nightspots.

Among them is Hotel Cremorne on the lower north shore. Since November the nightclub has required guests to submit to a photograph and ID scan as they line up on the street to enter on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

''It did kind of creep me out, made me feel like a criminal,'' a regular attendee, Julia Robertson, said. ''[But] I think it does make me feel safe. If some creepy guy comes in, they've taken their photograph.''

Queensland's ID-Tect installed its first ID scanning system in NSW in 2006, but now has hundreds in drinking establishments across the country - and thousands of individuals on its centrally stored ''ban list'' accessible to any client.

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