Tantra Nightclub owner plans to appeal decision
robin kuniski/for metro calgary
All Paul Vickers wants is safety for the clientele at his company’s nightclubs.
In his mind, yesterday’s privacy commission ruling to stop the scan of driver’s licences at the Tantra Nightclub and Lounge, owned and operated by parent company Penny Lane Entertainment, was the wrong message to send.
"I think first of all, (the privacy commission) erred on this decision," said Vickers.
"They were wrong to just come out and give us a flat, outright ‘no.’"
Vickers and his entertainment conglomerate own several major clubs in Calgary and Edmonton and he said the reason his clubs have long lines at the door is because of their commitment to safety.
"We put (scanning) in place to do what’s most important and that is to provide a level of protection to that which is most important to us — our staff, our customers and our property," said Vickers, adding that the licence scan is only one of a number of measures taken to improve club safety.
"Now, they’ve taken that away."
The decision, made by Information and Privacy Commissioner Frank Work stated that, "the Organization did not provide any evidence to establish that collecting the Complainant's driver's licence information, or that of other patrons, is in any way a deterrent to violent behaviour."
Vickers disagreed, noting the Calgary Police Service’s consultation of the information to further ongoing criminal investigations, and he believes the criminal element steer clear of his establishments because of the licence scan.
Calgary Police spokesperson Kevin Brookwell confirmed that information collected by the SecureClub ID system in place in Vicker’s clubs has helped a number of investigations, and he added the cops were in support of its implementation.
A 50-day appeal period is now in place, and the Information and Privacy Commissioner’s Office declined comment on the decision until after the appeal process.
"The broader implications of this order will be discussed once the appeal process is complete," said Wayne Wood of the Information and Privacy Commission.
Wood said the ruling only halts the use of the scanning equipment at Tantra Nightclub.
The ruling also bound Tantra to the destruction of all information that has been collected and stored.
Penny Lane will appeal yesterday’s decision.