Post Classifieds

Quite Thought Full: App is too revealing

By Katie Walsh
On March 7, 2012

  • Alex Gensler shoots a three against George Washington in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament. She finished the game with 14 points. Courtesy Mitch Leff / Atlantic 10

I t's Friday night. Classes are over for the week. You are of age and are preparing yourself for a night on the town. This week, sacrificing your privacy and the privacy of your fellow bar hoppers, you have something that will help you avoid the creepers from your hometown, find the hotties and secure yourself a good time for the night.

Because there's an app for that. Or by this summer, at least.

Bar & Club Stats, a night-life start-up business that creates ID scanners for clubs and bar venues, is building a scanner that goes beyond determining if your ID is real or fake. With each swipe, these scanners take away real-time demographic data regarding each patron that enters the bar: time of entry, age, sex and zip code. All of this information is uploaded for the business owner's viewing and analysis to determine the patronage of their business.

The accompanying app for smart phones will also allow users to view all of this information for local bars and clubs. This app promises to help you determine where the local men ages 21-25 will be tonight, as well as where you will be.

When I first read about this app, I cringed at the thought of my whereabouts being posted to the internet for all to see. I don't have a Twitter account, nor do I want one. I don't post where I am in Facebook pictures. If I want someone to know where I will be going this weekend, I text them or call them.

Maybe my desire for privacy makes me old-fashioned. I do have a few friends who have endearingly nicknamed me "mom." But this app is not only too weird for my iPhone, but threatens to invade my privacy if I go to a bar that decides to use the app's ID scanner.

Ben Silbert, founder of Bar & Clubs Stats began the service with bar and club owners in mind so that they could see what kind of crowd was walking past their bouncers in order to better serve their customers. That's all fine and well. Facebook does something similar by taking your interests and throwing advertisements associated with your interests all over your page.

Silbert decided to post the information gathered from his scanners after having too many nights when he spent more time wandering around trying to find a non-crowded bar than actually in a bar. Essentially, this app will prevent East Carson patrons from deliberately waiting an extra 20 minutes before going out and texting friends who are already out, "So is _____ crowded tonight?" Bar & Club Stats website states that their products will allow for customers to make "informed decisions about where to spend their time and money."

The downside of these products is that for some people like me who have a unique zip code because they are not local, this app will display where I am and how many places scanned my ID in one night. I would rather not have that information out there for anyone who has this app.

Silbert's scanners are only used in New York and New Jersey at the moment. For the time being, Pittsburgh bar-crawlers are still safe from revealing their weekend habits.

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