Sentinel Check-in: You don’t need wifi or an app for the taps

By Emily Byrne and James O’Brien

With reference to:

By Matt Burgess

Super Saturday saw the easing of lockdown restrictions and the reopening of pubs across the UK. With thousands of thirsty punters who’d been locked up for months unleashed, did wifi and app-based Track and Trace solutions see things running as smoothly as they should have?

Guest wifi and apps are well known treasure troves for cyber criminals to access your data. With pub chain owners using wifi connections and apps to Track and Trace their customers – How can visitors be sure that what they’re connecting to is secure?

Rowenna Fielding head of individual rights and ethics at data protection consultancy Protecture, advises:

‘If you’re unsure of how information is being handled, ask the pub. “Ask questions about how is it going to be stored? What are you going to do with it? How are you going to delete it? If those questions aren’t or can’t be answered, then maybe you’re better off having a drink somewhere else.’

Weary about wifi: The questions on our lips

Pub chains using wifi to Track and Trace their punters claim that logging on to a network is the easy option. Really? Register with an email address, forgetting your password, resetting your password. There is a queue behind you. Accessing your registration email, showing the email to the bar staff, all before a pint is pulled. Easy?

There are also issues around the email addressed used to register – you can technically register with any email address – if the track and trace team might want to contact the customer – how can the pub be sure that the email address is being monitored?  It could be days or weeks before the customer acknowledges the email.

Going down the wifi route also opens up your customers to cyber criminals – whose sophisticated techniques can take over devices in an instant. The anti-social engineer explains how this is done here:

 Does an app really have your back?

 Older people and technophobes will be alienated by the fact they have to download an app, enter their log in details and host the app on their phone to enter many pubs. Many might not have a Smartphone, (20% of the population in the UK don’t), or know how to install an app. We’re not all tech-whizzes and that’s OK.

Say you want to visit a few pubs post-lockdown (we don’t blame you!), are you going to download a different app for every pub you enter? That’s asking a lot from the customer, who just wants to order a pint, or a cocktail – it’s been 12 weeks.

Data Disaster – Why pen and paper won’t work

 In other countries whose bars and restaurants have used manual data-sheet registration to Track and Trace their customers, there have been incidents of female customers receiving unsolicited and undesirable messages from bar-staff. This approach means that customers are likely to provide fictional data.

 All it takes is a member of staff (or the public, if the sheets are on display) to take a note of or a picture of your personal data and they’ve got you. Your name, address, email, phone number.

As a young female this really doesn’t sit right with me and I certainly wouldn’t give accurate ID as a result. So how is this an effective way of collecting important information?

Vinod Bange, head of data practice at global law firm Taylor Wessing advises: ‘There will be risks for pubs and other businesses whether they adopt a low-tech paper approach […] or use an app to collect data.’

Just because something’s familiar, doesn’t mean it’s the data-secure option.

Sentinel Check-in: Your simple solution

With Sentinel Check-in, there’s no friction for the customer – simply scan the QR code on your chosen pub’s poster at entrance or ring their number. A SMS will automatically come through to you and to the pub, confirming the date and time of your entry. Tap straight to the taps in less than 20 seconds. It’s swift, safe and secure, so you can enjoy your pint in peace.

Our system in agnostic and inclusive, encouraging use for anyone that wants to walk into a pub.

See for yourself and Try a demo:

Register your pub and be setup in under 24 hours:

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