Croydon: Black Sheep Bar - fingerprint scanning private members alternative music venue - avoid !

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Black_Sheep_Bar_Croydon_google_streetview_450.jpg

The Black Sheep Bar,

68 High Street,
Croydon,
Surrey,
CR0 1NA

touts itself as the only "alternative" music venue left in Croydon.

Latitude: N51:22:17 (51.371372)
Longitude: W0:06:02 (-0.100694)

Black_Sheep_Bar_day_425.jpg

However, possibly due to the malign influence of the nearby Home Office Borders Agency offices, their decision to turn into a private club, which enforces its door policy, not just with bouncers and CCTV surveillance, but also with Photo ID and a Biometric Fingerprint scanning system and (insecure) database, makes it a place to avoid

The appalling Black Sheep Bar biometric membership web page exceeds the bureaucratic requirements of the most repressive of secret police surveillance state dystopias.

George Orwell's Winston Smith did not have to go through fingerprint scanning in order to be sold his Victory Gin !

Welcome to the Black Sheep Bar's website. We are a members only bar, if you are coming down and you aren't already a member please bring photo ID (driving licence or passport) with you to sign up.

The Intouch system is a biometric door entry system (it recognises fingerprints). In order to become a member we require that you have your photo taken and provide a form of identification (driving licence or passport).

The biometric fingerprint club / pub door entry system seems to be the inTouch system, now marketed by idscan biometrics.

The fact that it is relatively cheap (£700 for the software and one fingerprint scanner), but does not offer any built in strong encryption makes it unlikely that it will be installed with sufficient physical security to prevent the entire system being stolen or copied.

To apply for membership we require such personal data as your full name, postal address, telephone number, date of birth, a photograph of you and your finger characteristics. We will occasionally need to collect and use sensitive personal data about you, for example, your conduct in our premises to ensure a safe and pleasant environment for our customers, staff and members of the public.

We collect and use personal data about you for the general provision of our services, we will disclose any data if required to do so by law or to comply with a legal process or where permitted to protect and defend our rights and property and to protect the personal safety of our customers, staff and members of the public. By providing your personal data to us you agree to these terms.

As with all other fingerprint scanning systems used in public places, what about the biological infection risk from bacteria and viruses which will contaminate the fingerprint scanner ?

Fingerprint scanners never get washed or sterilised, do they, so the risk of spreading pandemic infectious diseases like Swine Flu etc. is substantial.

Cyberpunks and any other freedom and liberty loving or public health conscious people should boycott this totalitarian venue in Croydon.

UPDATE: 5th November 2009

If you look up entry Z8210589 for Bossicks's Restaurants Limited / Black Sheep Bar, on the Information Commissioner's Office Register of Data Controllers you will find only one Data Purpose which has been registered.

This was registered back in 2003, presumably before the fingerprint system was installed, and is only for the CCTV surveillance system, so technically this fingerprint system and club membership database is illegal under the Data Protection Act 1998.


11 Comments

Some CyberPunk' you are, you want to act less of a mimsy complaining about stuff like this, or was it because you couldn't go in because they wouldn't let your dad park outside and wait for you?
Save stuff like this for people who really deserve it and maybe put your 'talents' to a more practical use now you're famous...But one thing, please, just grow the fuck up!

http://www.croydonguardian.co.uk/news/4718624.Website_slams_bar_s_fingerprint_policy/?ref=mr

@ V - thanks for the newspaper blog article link.

The obvious cyberpunk response to you and to the the couple of comments there, is to quote William Gibson in Count Zero:

I got a pair of shoes older than you are, so what the fuck should I expect you to know ?

If you cannot see how off putting this fingerprint scanning is to tourists and visitors from the rest of the UK, or from the rest of the world, then perhaps Croydon has been brainwashed by the New Labour government control freaks.

Actually, Croydon is awash with Coke & Skunk fuelled computer game fantasists cum Chav anarchists bred from many failed New Labour policies too numerous to go into here who don't know the true meaning of the word who use extreme violence, robbery & drug dealing as a way of getting their personal kicks with no value to any of their neighbours.

If you had to live here, you'd know the threat was real and not some jolly out of the pages of some futuristic crime novel, having a simple fingerprint scanner in this bar has kept this element out pretty much 100%, and in all honesty, the thing probably doesn't even work properly!

If I was a visitor, Instead of hitting the roof with conspiracy theories, I might have the nous to respect it could be there for keeping me safe from getting stabbed up by a bunch of flesh and blood 'gangstaz' not some cloak and dagger infiltration of the collective psyche to Big Brother us into Fahrenheit 451 land.

Everyone who's here knows the town is a great big mess, we're just trying to have somewhere safe to have some fun and you're calling for a fucking boycott, who's the one trying to be a control freak here exactly? Christ mate, the winter nights must just fly by for you, lighten up! (and PLEASE retract your comments or some good kids may be out of jobs in real life)

BigBrotherWatch / TaxPayersAlliance have commented on the Croydon Guardian article :

http://www.bigbrotherwatch.org.uk/home/2009/11/youre-not-coming-inwithout-a-fingerprint-reading.html

“I think most people appreciate a venue that might seem quite hedonistic and chaotic, but is actually quite controlled and well managed.”

I agree with Paul that most people would; I just think that most people will also have been in several other venues that achieve this heady mix without requiring punters hand over their biometric data.

So you've got some friends...
From your pretty lonely comment on there, I imagine that you'd rather the place was closed down for not totally complying to rather foggy data protection rules?...Maybe you should call the cops...Now how's that for Totalitarianism in full effect?!

...Or maybe the alternative, remove this equipment and normalise the bar so as it becomes a lottery whether you'll manage to have a night out without being subjected to one of the unpleasant occurrences that have happened all over other Croydon pubs and clubs?

Just Google a few old (actually, not even old, try this week for starters) articles in Croydon editorials about murders, shootings, stabbings, rapes, muggings, thefts, spikings, racial and verbal abuse, overcrowding, etc. and see what goes on here.
You may think all of this stuff would make a cool plot to a cool comic, but WE have to live with it.

Sure, "most people will also have been in several other venues that achieve this heady mix without requiring punters hand over their biometric data"...Yep, and sure it's refreshing to visit clubs & bars in Central, North, East London etc without this (Save The Foundry!), but noticeably, there's not the same element & volume of chancers, dickheads and scumbags out to cause trouble in these places in my experience, and believe me, I fucking like to party.

In this case, the Black Sheep is protected in a way that at least acts as a deterrent to troublemakers and people who go there seem pretty cool with this in the main because they know the score.

Anyone concerned about their details being used for inappropriate reasons doesn't have to go in, BUT, if their objections are 'for real' they also shouldn't have an email account, personal blog, Facebook page, MySpace page, play games online, A Twitter account, Paypal Account or pay online for anything, or even use a mobile phone, Basically to not have any dealings whatsoever with the global systems of information collection that we all know could spot you from outer space.

Your own site itself is powered by an American firm who presumably wanted more than just a pseudonym to let you use their equipment, they will also presumably have the ability to monitor the content and log your IP address every time you work on it, and close it down if they feel it's 'inappropriately' run...and do they also get pissed off every month when you send £19.99 in de-fingerprinted 1p's as payment?

What's the real difference to what you're criticising the Black Sheep's chosen methods of membership & safety for here?
In effect, you seem more than happy to use similar equipment to help you do just exactly that and that in my book comes across as just a little wonky...These guys have done nothing to you and they don't deserve this negative and venomous coverage...AVOID!?...C'mon, be serious!...You could literally be sending people to their death here in Croydon if they do that.

@ V - you are very wrong.

So you've got some friends...
From your pretty lonely comment on there,

As lonely as your comments here, perhaps ?

I imagine that you'd rather the place was closed down

If I thought that, I would have said so.

for not totally complying to rather foggy data protection rules?...

There is nothing foggy about them.

Even the inTouch fingerprint system manufacturers website advises registering the system on the Register of Data Controllers.

Maybe you should call the cops...Now how's that for Totalitarianism in full effect?!

Nonsense.

...Or maybe the alternative, remove this equipment and normalise the bar so as it becomes a lottery whether you'll manage to have a night out without being subjected to one of the unpleasant occurrences that have happened >all over other Croydon pubs and clubs?

So why have no other pubs and clubs in Croydon adopted this technology ?

Just Google a few old (actually, not even old, try this week for starters) articles in Croydon editorials about murders, shootings, stabbings, rapes, muggings, thefts, spikings, racial and verbal abuse, overcrowding, etc. and see what goes on here.

You may think all of this stuff would make a cool plot to a cool comic, but WE have to live with it.

Sure, "most people will also have been in several other venues that achieve this heady mix without requiring punters hand over their biometric data"...Yep, and sure it's refreshing to visit clubs & bars in Central, North, East London etc without this (Save The Foundry!), but noticeably, there's not the same element & volume of chancers, dickheads and scumbags out to cause trouble in these places in my experience, and believe me, I fucking like to party.

You do seem to be trying your best to frighten off tourists, visitors and potential investors from bothering to come to Croydon, unless it is specifically to see such a dystopia for themselves.

In this case, the Black Sheep is protected in a way that at least acts as a deterrent to troublemakers

You cannot be sure whether that is simply due to it now being a private members club, with nothing at all to do with the fingerprint scanning.

and people who go there seem pretty cool with this in the main because they know the score.

But most tourists and visitors to Croydon probably do not.

Anyone concerned about their details being used for inappropriate reasons doesn't have to go in,

Precisely.

So what is your problem with that ?

BUT, if their objections are 'for real' they also shouldn't have an email account, personal blog, Facebook page, MySpace page, play games online, A Twitter account, Paypal Account or pay online for anything, or even use a mobile phone, Basically to not have any dealings whatsoever with the global systems of information collection that we all know could spot you from outer space.

Utter nonsense.

Your own site itself is powered by an American firm who presumably wanted more than just a pseudonym to let you use their equipment,

Wow, such WHOIS skillz

they will also presumably have the ability to monitor the content and log your IP address every time you work on it, and close it down if they feel it's 'inappropriately' run...

Is that a veiled threat of a malicious complaint in order to try to censor this blog ?

Presumably you have not heard of the Streisand Effect

and do they also get pissed off every month when you send £19.99 in de-fingerprinted 1p's as payment?

Online payments obviously do not involve fingerprints.

What's the real difference to what you're criticising the Black Sheep's chosen methods of membership & safety for here?
In effect, you seem more than happy to use similar equipment to help you do just exactly that

What are you on about ?

This blog does not ask you to pre-register in order to read it or to post comments, let alone demand copies of your photo ID or biometric identifiers.

and that in my book comes across as just a little wonky...

Tough. You are free to browse elsewhere.

These guys have done nothing to you and they don't deserve this negative and venomous coverage...AVOID!?...C'mon, be serious!...You could literally be sending people to their death here in Croydon if they do that.

That is utter rubbish, and, quite frankly, an insult to the rest of Croydon.

Your own comments here, and those on the Croydon Guardian blog are potentially more damaging to the Croydon tourist trade than this blog article can possibly be.

Perhaps I should link to some of the online reviews of the Black Sheep Bar itself, but be warned, many of the people who have visited it have written negative reviews.

Brother...You're SO missing the point of my mails.

Infact, with your schtick, you should really apply to be a New Labour councellor in the next election here and then you can carry on helping promoting a place you don't come from just like all of the other ones here who spin a nice flat story with their head in the clouds and a nice suburban semi to call their own 30 miles away.
At the very least a job for the local tourist guide for Croydon would be a shoo-in with your kind words of reassurance to the people you're serving.

You're right about one thing though, I DO feel a bit like a tumbleweed dodger on here as it happens. To be honest, not many people I've spoken to give a hoot about the story and think what you've written is old news as the installed technology, as the owner of the place said, 4 years old now and we've lived with it without ever being dragged out of our beds at 4AM by the Gestapo.

Infact, I have no vested interest in writing any of this other than having my sense of justice and fairness tweaked, but in honesty I'm most put off that you're calling your site a Cyberpunk guide, because how you're handling this is not exactly the actions of a practitioner of any kind of 'Punk' ethic I know...and not particularly modern in it's approach either.
You should maybe visit the bar and take a few tips off of some of the regulars and staff on this score.

Plus I really feel I can mention what goes on in Croydon on your site as I'm pretty confident no-one's going to see it apart from you and me, and anyway, it's 100% factual.
Likewise, not really sure many investors will be reading this (thanks for your corporate concern though), and there's not much in the way of tourist trade here either as it's well known internationally to be the sole centre in the UK for asylum control and not a sunny day out at the beach, (nice that you've had a little straw poll though, the one where 'most tourists and visitors to Croydon PROBABLY do not like this').

No-one is excluded here, you're the only one calling for this action, and I can't exactly see where I mention they were. Infact, if they want to come, why not visit a safe bar like The Black Sheep...Oh hang on a second...it says AVOID!

I think that you need to go back and read what I really put, most of your replies above show you've incorrectly understood what I'm saying.

Firstly, If you're wondering why other bars here don't have any technology like this, I think it would be fair to say that after a couple of months, they wouldn't have much left in the way of people that could enter, they're mostly meat markets, drug deal meeting spots and infact are policed far more heavily by teams of looming bouncers who won't let you in if you're not dressed the right way may I add, infact you may want to try some of them and see if they meet your 'Cyberpunk' credentials just so that anyone visiting Croydon for the night has at least somewhere to go...No, didn't think so.

Re any veiled threats, (and despite there's clearly a nice little try at one on your part in your very last sentence) I don't think you should be so paranoid, you've not exactly done anything wrong here, but it does say a lot for your way of thinking to bring this up.
I was actually talking about your 'parent company' (the blog host) having control over YOU and what you put up and how YOU registered YOUR own information so as you could use THEIR (information collecting) software...I ain't gonna dob you in though, promise.
I support free speech & am completely anti censorship and as far as I can see, you are trying to make a fair point about civil liberties, but it's one which has no logic or purpose to it and is completely out of context here, plus you're not exactly rattling out reams of interesting alternatives, BUT the only one who's trying to suppress anything here buddy, is YOU, by tarring and feathering a place you have no real experience of. Nice one for taking down the text where it actually called for people to boycott the bar down now though, that's a start.

Oh, and I'm also highly aware that you can't send 1p coins down the Interweb!

Sorry if I've made you blow a fuse here, and I would truly love to browse elsewhere instead of having to try and put you straight, but what you're saying about this place is unfair and unjust, it's a bunch of young people getting on with having a pleasant time in safety, and you're raining down on them and frankly being a bit of a drag, if intelligence / counter intelligence is your chosen path, for Christ’s sake fry some bigger and more worthy fish.

@ V - it does not look like we are getting through to each other.

you should really apply to be a New Labour councellor in the next election here

Croydon Council has 43 Conservatives, 26 Labour and 1 Independent Councillors

http://www.croydon.gov.uk/democracy/elected/allcouncillors/

because how you're handling this is not exactly the actions of a practitioner of any kind of 'Punk' ethic I know...and not particularly modern in it's approach either.

There is nothing particularly "modern" about 'Punk' or even CyberPunk.

Tolerating bureaucratic snooping and surveillance technology, especially fundamentally flawed and discriminatory technology like fingerprint scanning, has never been part of any 'Punk' ethic.

You should maybe visit the bar and take a few tips off of some of the regulars and staff on this score.

They may all be otherwise wonderful people, but whilst they insist on using this demeaning, untrustworthy, unregistered fingerprint scanning system, I will not bother.

Plus I really feel I can mention what goes on in Croydon on your site as I'm pretty confident no-one's going to see it apart from you and me

Apart from all the visitors to the site coming in via Google and other search engines.

Nice one for taking down the text where it actually called for people to boycott the bar down now though, that's a start.

Read it again, that part has not changed.

I support free speech & am completely anti censorship

Except when someone disagrees with you. You sound like a Labour Home Secretary.

...And you sound like one of the biggest, narrow minded most mixed up anti-social box ticking bureaucratic hypocritical fantasists I've ever had the misfortune to encounter.
Enjoy carrying on ripping on normal Joe's and Jane's with your elevated off the peg 'Comic Book Guy' philosphies & your Wiki-based 'underground knowledge' which clearly makes you think you're superior to them in every way, and enjoy also being king of your own little 'alternative' bubble ""Mr Engineeron"" (Just one stereotypical cliche after another...)
Over and out.

I think any venue that calls itself ALTERNATIVE should have an open door policy and not some totalitarian Orwellian themed door rule . Er this is Croydon not Mayfair and in any event it's about as "alternative" as Cheryl cole's messy pout I mean seriously a finger printing biometric admission scan yeah okay in CROYDON land of the chi chi and oooh so exclusive . This is utter nonsensense and this "alternative" yuck cringeworthy tagged club should rebrand itself as a sister of the Gestapo or something . No cool bands should play there and no punter shoud go there can you imagine groups like queens of the stone age or any anti establishment uber rock bands playing in a venue that demands your passport and ID I say screw that and set up your own entertainment zone this is not Neo Socailist Germany and we are not in 1944 where IDs and passports are the norm for a little bit of fun and funking ................

Wierd .

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  • Lucy Win: I think any venue that calls itself ALTERNATIVE should have read more
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  • V: ...And you sound like one of the biggest, narrow minded read more
  • Memetic Engineer: @ V - it does not look like we are read more
  • V: Brother...You're SO missing the point of my mails. Infact, with read more
  • Memetic Engineer: @ V - you are very wrong. So you've got read more
  • V: So you've got some friends... From your pretty lonely comment read more
  • Memetic Engineer: BigBrotherWatch / TaxPayersAlliance have commented on the Croydon Guardian article read more
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