ID scanners in the night-time economy: social sorting or social order?

Economics Alcohol Australia Victoria
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This paper documents the findings of a detailed study, which examined the implementation of mandatory patron ID scanning in the Victorian regional city of Geelong, and assessed its perceived effectiveness.

Foreword: Digital technologies are often considered effective methods of deterring or preventing crime. New forms of surveillance have particular appeal when attempting to reduce violence in the night-time economy, given ongoing concerns over perceived increases in the frequency and severity of reported assaults. This study examines the rationales for adopting compulsory patron ID scanning as a key method of reducing violence in and around licensed venues in the Victorian regional city of Geelong. Using a mixed methods approach, this paper challenges the popular perception that ID scanning has helped to reduce violence Geelong’s night-time economy. Further, the research identifies several limits in the administration of this technology that potentially undermine patron safety in the night-time economy. The authors conclude by proposing a series of reforms to address current regulatory gaps associated with ID scanning and related surveillance and identity authentication technologies to prevent crime

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