B.C.'s information and privacy commissioner has ruled computer databases of bar patrons' personal information can only be kept for 24 hours. ((CBC))

A database  program aimed at curbing rowdy bar patrons can be used under certain conditions, British Columbia's information and privacy commissioner has decided.

Last month, David Loukidelis ruled the Barwatch program, under which bar patrons are photographed and their personal identification scanned into a database and shared among participating bars, violates B.C.'s Personal Information Privacy Act.

The company that developed the software has since been working with the Loukidelis to come up with new rules.

Now, bars will be allowed to collect the name, date of birth, gender and photographs of its patrons, but the information has to be deleted after 24 hours. However, if the customer has caused a problem, the information can be retained for one year.

TreoScope spokesman Owen Cameron said he's pleased with the new order.


Many bars and nightclubs in B.C. use scanners to capture personal information from patrons' driver's licences. ((CBC))

"In the end, who wins here? It's really the general public," he said.

"Now their information has had the benefit of a person with the expertise of the commissioner go through it and ensure their interests are being protected on the personal information side."

The Barwatch program has been used in clubs and bars in Metro Vancouver, Victoria and other parts of B.C. in an attempt to curb violence.

In Vancouver, the five-year-old program has been credited with curbing gang activity in local bars and pubs.