Buying booze? Biometrics — Palm, Fingerprint or Retinal Scans — can Verify Age

Fingerprint Biometric Digital Scan Technology. Graphic interface showing man finger with print scanning identification. Concept of digital security and private data access by use fingerprint scanner.

Move over, fake IDs: Biometric systems that can “read” a person’s face or palm image and determine if they’re too young for a beer are gaining traction at sports stadiums and liquor shops.While these tools are handy for alcohol sellers — and can offer more privacy for consumers than handing over a driver’s license to a store clerk — they tap into fears about potential abuses of facial recognition systems.

Presently, states are looking at passing legislation to permit and/or regulate these systems of verification. New York and Washington are considering bills which would allow liquor purchases ising biometric data from retinal scans or palm/fingerprint readings.

The New York bill would require all biometric data to be encrypted and prohibit businesses from selling it to third parties.

“This is the new frontier of age verification,” state Sen. and bill sponsor James Skoufis told the New York Post. “It does advance the interests of convenience.

Amazon added an age-verification feature to its palm-based payment system that enables users to buy alcohol by swiping their hand.

Amazon One is now being used in some restaurants and stadiums, as well as several of Amazon’s grocery chains.

To start, the Coors Field baseball stadium in Denver, Colorado, will let attendees use Amazon One to purchase alcohol, Amazon said.

Amazon One and other payment systems that use biometric data have faced some pushback from privacy advocates. Amazon argues palm recognition is more private than other biometric systems “because you can’t determine a person’s identity by looking at an image of their palm.”

According to Axios, “As these systems grow ubiquitous, there are mounting privacy concerns — despite the assurances — and real issues about racial discrimination.

 “Despite public qualms, biometric recognition is expanding in myriad ways — including age verification and beyond. As alcohol vending machines and self-service “pour walls” proliferate, hotels, bars and other venues are letting patrons verify their age through CLEAR, which has 16 million members, Hall says.”

CNBC and Axios