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Forget Your ID — Your Face Could Verify Your Age When Purchasing Alcohol Biometric systems utilizing facial recognition and palm scans are becoming popular methods for verifying age when purchasing alcohol at liquor stores and event venues.

By Madeline Garfinkle

Key Takeaways

  • Facial recognition and palm scans are already being used at several venues and retailers across the country.
  • Despite the arguments for convenience, some groups are concerned about privacy.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Next time you order a beer, the bartender might scan your face instead of asking for ID.

A new frontier of age verification is emerging: biometric systems that can "read" your face or palm to determine if you're old enough to order an adult beverage, Axios reported.

"We know that people are not that good at estimating age," Andrew O'Brien, product manager at Innovative Technology Ltd (the company behind a facial recognition system called MyCheckr), told the outlet. "As we get older, policemen look younger, dentists, doctors all look younger — we're best at estimating people's age closer to our own age."

Several venues have already implemented biometric ID systems for age verification. At Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, football fans enrolled in CLEAR's ID system can order alcohol from their seats using facial recognition on their phones.

Similarly, customers at a brewery in Coors Field can verify their age by waving their palms over a scanner, provided they are enrolled in Amazon One's system — which they can also use to pay by palm at Whole Foods. Some systems require pre-enrollment, while others estimate a person's age using neural networks at checkout.

Related: Amazon Tech Will Let You Pay at Whole Foods in the Most Organic Way Possible — With a Scan of Your Hand

Those advocating for biometric systems argue that they offer convenience and efficiency for both vendors and consumers. However, there are concerns in regard to privacy and the possibility of racial discrimination.

A group called Ban Facial Recognition has started a petition to stop the use of facial scanning in stores as the practice becomes more integrated — calling the technology "biased, invasive, and dangerous."

"We cannot buy into the myth that it's convenient to use biometric data to speed up purchases — there is nothing convenient about risking your most sensitive, irreplaceable personal information to buy a drink," a spokesperson for the movement told Entrepreneur.

Regarding privacy concerns, Sam Hall, CFO at CLEAR, told Axios that "no information is ever shared with a partner without your explicit consent."

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

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