Family Circle Stadium concert series ID scanners: Data mining or ID checking?

  • Friday, June 21, 2013

Laurie Steinke and her husband aren’t the problem. She, 55, and her husband, 60, attended the “Lumineers” concert last week and were subjected to an ID scan, as part of a newly implemented fake ID crack down at Family Circle Stadium during the summer concert series.

The technology isn’t necessarily designed for her or her husband. Or is it?

“We asked if they were checking for fake IDs and were told that no it was to gather info on concert-goers to better market future events,” Steinke, a Daniel Island resident, said. “Essentially, data mining. So, who is telling the truth?”

Bob Moran, Family Circle Tennis Center general manager, previously denied that the ID scanners were storing information. He said they were strictly validating IDs. He reitirated that in a statement to the Moultrie News.

“The No. 1 goal for this program is to curb underage drinking and creating a safe atmosphere. This is not a data-mining effort,” he said. “There are no phone numbers or emails associated with a driver’s license. Does it verify a valid license? Absolutely. Will we use that info for marketing purposes for future events? Absolutely not.”

Driver’s licenses still contain address, date of birth and gender.

Moran added that the people operating the scanners at events are not Family Circle employees. Moran said that they are “hired as independent contractors, so that was obviously their own opinion.”

Moran reported that the scanners were “very successful,” noting that there were no instances of underage drinking and “one incident with someone being intoxicated and that was prior to the show.”

The fake ID crack down was initiated in the Family Circle and MillerCoors partnership, which has been active for years. Jonathan Stern, MillerCoors media relations director, said in a statement to the Moultrie News: “MillerCoors worked with Family Circle Stadium and Bar & Club Stat to introduce this technology as part of our company’s long-standing commitment to help prevent underage access to alcohol.

“Family Circle informs us that there were no underage drinking incidents at the ‘Lumineers’ concert last Friday, and we consider that a great success.”

Ben Silbert, founder of Bar & Club Stat (BCS), did not immediately return a request for comment. But, in several published reports, Silbert notes that the scanners are gathering information.

“Every time an ID is checked for entry into a bar, club or casino or purchase of alcohol at a stadium or event is a data point,” the BCS company overview notes on AngelList, a website further publicizing its clients. “A data point for the venue to protect itself and gain a better understanding of their customers, and for marketers and advertisers – beer, liquor, lifestyle companies – to gain a better understanding of their users.

“Once an ID is scanned, we extract anonymous info – time of entry, age, gender, zip code – send it to our database, aggregate and analyze it, and provide it back to the venue and marketers. We can see the gender split, patron flow, average age and distribution, number of repeat customers, compare days and weeks, etc.”

On Silbert’s LinkedIn page, he describes his work with BCS and acknowledges that he was a winner of the “2013 MillerCoors Urban Entrepreneur Series.”

He praises the scanner technology for its ease of use. “Our ID scanner reduces liability insurance, provides legal protections and creates more effective marketing and advertising campaigns,” he said.

In an article on the Huffington Post, Silbert is quoted as saying: “Our scanners extract four pieces of anonymous information – time of entry, age, gender and zip code – and will push the data to our site, where owners can view it in just a few clicks. They’ll be able to go to our site and plug in the time they want demographic data for.”

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