Beauty salon customers forced to have fingerprints taken before getting a tan to stop them using a sunbed more than once a day
By Graham Smith
PUBLISHED: 13:28, 16 April 2012 | UPDATED: 13:34, 16 April 2012
A high street tanning salon has been branded ‘absurd’ after insisting all its customers must have their fingerprints taken before topping up their tans.
The move, which has outraged privacy campaigners, has been introduced by The Tanning Shop to prevent people from using a sunbed more than once in a 24-hour period.
Thousands of people from across the country who regularly visit the chain’s 60 branches must now agree to providing their fingerprints if they want to use a sunbed.
A spokesman for The Tanning Shop today claimed the scheme has been launched to monitor how much customers tan and to stop people from tanning twice or more per day.
But privacy watchdogs have criticised the move.
Nick Pickles, director of civil liberties and privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: ‘This is a tanning shop, not a maximum security spy base.
‘It is an absurd use of technology that is intended to track people’s behaviour.’
One Tanning Shop customer from Brighton added: ‘I do not see the sense behind it to be honest.
‘I have never had to give my fingerprints ever, not even when I got a passport. It’s just stupid.’
The firm, which is running the system in its branches across Britain, told customers the technology is to ‘protect your minutes and yourself from tanning within the normal 24-hour restriction between sessions’.
All new customers are asked to provide four separate scans of their fingerprints.
The image then goes through one-way encryption and is stored securely as a text document, the company said.
In a written statement, it added: ‘It is not possible to convert text data back into a fingerprint.’
Chelle Lahmers, a spokesman for The Tanning Shop, said: ‘We are dedicated not only to promotion and application of responsible tanning practices but committed to preserve the integrity and security of client accounts in full compliance with current legislation.
‘The use of biometrics is not only applied as a matter of account access restriction, but to ensure that clients are not able to tan more than once in a 24-hour period.
‘The majority of clients embrace not only the convenience of this method but the account security it affords them.’