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.
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.”