Archive for February, 2008

Calgary club owner ordered to stop scanning patrons’ driver’s licences

Could this be tested in Halifax at the Liquor Dome?

Calgary club owner ordered to stop scanning patrons’ driver’s licences
Sean Myers
Calgary Herald

Wednesday, February 20, 2008
CALGARY – A Calgary night club owner is vowing to appeal a decision to stop the practice of scanning the driver’s licences of patrons as they walk in the door.

Alberta privacy commissioner Frank Work ordered Tantra Nightclub and its parent company Penny Lane Entertainment to stop scanning licences and to destroy any information that has been collected.

Penny Lane owner Paul Vickers said he has spent millions of dollars installing the scanning equipment in his Calgary and Edmonton venues and they’ve proven to reduce criminal activity in his clubs.

“This is one of the things that keeps the bad guys out,” said Vickers. “Our sole purpose in scanning is the protection of our staff, patrons and property.

“I’m not going to sit idly by on this.”

In his order, Work wrote that at best, Penny Lane “offers conjecture that collecting driver’s license information of patrons may act as a deterrent to violent behavior.”

He said Penny Lane failed to offer any evidence to back up its claims that Tantra was made safer by the scanning practice.

The original complaint was made in 2005 by a University of Calgary law student.

After Penny Lane chose not to comply with a voluntary request to stop scanning, the matter went before the privacy commissioner for a binding decision.

The ruling is binding only on Penny Lane and Vickers has 50 days to appeal.


In Case of Poetic Emergency

On my slither to work a couple of weeks ago I saw a small Ziploc baggie duct taped around the dangling cable of a broken down old payphone… Can you guess where it is?The message visible through the plastic was

“In case of poetic emergency break seal – write / draw / express”

In case of poetic emergency

…and there was a piece of paper and a little golf-style pencil inside. I chuckled and felt good that someone had done this, but I just carried on to the cubicle farm without acting.

Today as I passed I saw it was still there! So instead of passing by I broke the seal and left a poem and it felt good. It seemed like protection from the approaching day in its sealed office with emails and papers and photocopies and the various annoyances that seem extra obvious on a Monday morning. Even better was seeing on my way home that someone else left words! Very cool.

Over my many years of walking around the city I’ve seen many similar street art projects and wondered about who and why, and what it means. Was it done while laughing? Is it a subversion of mainstream art? Is it a repurposing and replatforming of corporate or municipal infrastructure? The phone was broken after all; why not turn it into a frame for this piece of interactive public art? Reclaim it and change it from a piece of useless junk into a place to express yourself.

Here’s a Wikipedia entry for Street Art

I might make a little sketch tomorrow. Hope you can find it and make your own contribution.