Forced to provide personal information: A security guard scans IDs as patrons enter a nightclub. Photo: Wayne Taylor
The hotels lobby has seized on the findings of a survey on privacy that found an overwhelming majority of Australians believe it is ''not acceptable'' to be forced to have their identification scanned to enter a licensed venue.
The NSW government is planning a 12-month trial of scanning technology for ''high risk'' venues in Kings Cross in time for the peak summer trading period.
The system of linked identification scanners is designed to prevent patrons who are thrown out of one establishment from entering another and to enforce bans imposed on customers entering venues in the area.
A national survey of 1000 people published on Wednesday by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner found 72 per cent of respondents believed ID scanning at licensed premises was ''not acceptable''.
However, the percentage who found it acceptable rose to 28 per cent from 18 per cent in a 2007 survey.
The NSW chief executive of the Australian Hotels Association, Paul Nicolaou, said the survey result showed ''why ID scanning is not a measure that should be used as a blanket approach''.
The government proposes to require all late trading pubs and nightclubs in Kings Cross with a capacity of more than 120 people to scan patron ID - most likely a driver's licence - during most opening hours.
Customers' details will have to be collected by 35 venues from 7pm every day and for all trading hours on Fridays, weekends and public holidays.
But the AHA argues that scanning customers during daylight hours will ''target the public, not the troublemakers''.
''To contemplate using scanning as a tool during daylight hours or when there is absolutely no risk associated with the premises - as we could soon see in Kings Cross - is far too big a burden to be contemplated, on both the patrons and the premises,'' Mr Nicolaou said.
He said hotels acknowledged ID scanning might ''be a useful tool to improve safety in some types of late trading premises, dependent upon identified risks to safety in an area'' but that ''it is not a panacea and does not suit all entertainment types''.
Hospitality Minister George Souris said because only 35 of 125 licensed premises in the Kings Cross precinct would be subject to the trial, ''residents and visitors can voluntarily choose to only enter premises without ID scanners''.
He said the system would be monitored closely by the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing and reviewed after a year ''to ensure that the measures are effective and achieving the intended outcomes''.