Here is an obnoxious new development in the Facebook privacy debate: Some of our friends across the pond might find themselves denied access to nightclubs in the UK — because they denied a bouncer access to their Facebook profile. No, really. The BBC reports that bouncers are asking people to log into their accounts on their phones outside of nightclubs to see if their profile names match their drivers license. Let’s talk about how little sense this makes!
Besides the ridiculous notion that Facebook provides just as official a record as a government-issued drivers license that your name matches exactly, are we to assume that in order to enter a nightclub, some kind of social or moral standard must be met beforehand and proven on Facebook? Facebook? Actually it’s not related to your conduct, this check. It’s to confirm one’s identity to make sure underage clubbers aren’t entering the premises. Because no one lies about anything on Facebook!
In defense of the club owners and bouncers for just a moment, the fine for allowing an underage person inside a nightclub that serves alcohol can be as high as £5,000 (a little over $8,000 American). And it’s not that they want to see what people are doing on Facebook or what kind of pictures and comments they’re posting. It’s just a matter of cross-checking identities, and fake IDs are hard to spot. But again — since when is Facebook a reliable form of identification? And the checking process still means that bouncers will see what’s going on in someone’s private profile. If you’re wondering if they’ve issued the “Well, if they’ve got nothing to hide…” line, then you would be correct.
However, Paul Martin-Beades, director of a company that trains club security, Akira Training, says that such checks are wrong, and he’d never tell the guards he’s training that asking to see someone’s Facebook profile was appropriate. To boot, any guard making it through the training process has to be approved by the Security Industry Authority, which would also never approve of poking around in someone’s business like that.
But I think one of the biggest questions is what if someone doesn’t have a Facebook account? Or a smartphone? Someone can’t get into a club because they didn’t have a Facebook account or smartphone for the bouncer to check? Should Facebook or smartphone manufacturers get in on these clubs’ business?
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