In Appleton, Wisconsin, Having a Cold One is Now the Government’s Business

Had a tough week at work in the Fox River Valley? If you did and decided to stop after work on Friday to have a cold one and blow-off some steam, you might want to avoid the following Appleton, Wisconsin, taverns:

  • Luna Lounge
  • Anduzzi’s
  • OB’s Brauhaus
  • Mill Creek
  • Speakeasy Ultra Lounge

The proprietors of these establishments have, absent the consent of their patrons, caved to the de facto pressures brought to bear by the regulators of their tavern licenses: the City of Appleton and its enforcement arm—the Appleton Police Department.  When a customer enters one of the above taverns, a doorman scans their identification and later hands the information off to the Appleton Police Department.

An article in the Appleton Post Crescent documents this public-private information gathering operation:

Of course, the doormen of these taverns, acting more-or-less as agents of the state, do not disclose to those providing IDs on demand that their data is being provided to the government.  Even e-mail solicitations, by law, give an individual an opportunity to opt-out.  At a bare minimum, if the objective is, as the Appleton police claim, to deter those on probation or parole from visiting these taverns, why not post signs giving ALL customers notice that their personal information will be forwarded to law enforcement?

Unfortunately, the Appleton Post Crescent’s reporter, Nick Penzenstadler, failed to ascertain what the police are doing with the data obtained from tavern customers.  Is this information being maintained in an Appleton PD data base for future use or being forwarded to one of Wisconsin’s two intelligence fusion centers? Is the data, at some point, being purged? Who, exactly, besides officials at the Appleton PD, will have access to this data? Now in possession of a government agency, is the personal information gleaned by these scanners a public record?

Until patrons get some answers they might choose to boycott businesses willing to ignore any semblance of a law-abiding person’s right to be left alone.  My suggestion to their competitors is to post signs proclaiming that they will not disclose their patrons’ personal information to the government absent a subpoena.


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at

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One Response

  1. Pingback: Bar Shares Scanned ID Card Data with Cops | AxXiom for Liberty

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