NY eye face recognition to “card” for alcohol, cigarettes

This could make a real dent in the fake ID market.

The New York State Senate is moving forward with bills that would allow bars and restaurants to use facial recognition or fingerprint scanners to verify a person’s age before purchasing alcohol, tobacco or electronic cigarettes.

“This is the new frontier of age verification,” said Senator James Skoufis, who supports the biometrics bill. “It promotes the interests of convenience.”

Skoufis envisions bars and restaurants scanning the fingerprints, faces or retinas of customers who want to avoid the hassle of showing ID when returning to a venue in the future. The proposed legislation requires all data to be encrypted and prohibits companies from selling biometric data to third parties.

“No one is forced to engage with this technology, but they would have a choice,” Skoufis said. “There’s no big brother involved.”

Skoufis, chairman of the inquiry and government operations committee, said he expects his committee to present the proposal to the full Senate on Monday. There is currently no sponsor at the gathering, although Skoufis said several members have expressed interest.

State legislatures are expected to adjourn for the year on June 2.

State Senator James Skoufis
State Senator James Skoufis argued there was “no big brother involved” in allowing companies to use technology to verify purchases.
Ricky Flores and Peter Carr/The Journal News

Washington State approved a similar proposal in 2018, allowing spectators at professional sporting events to use their fingerprints to pass through security and buy concessions.

Legislative language states that the State Liquor Authority and State Department of Health would be responsible for drafting regulations to control the recording and maintenance of biometric data, which the bill “must be stored in a centralized, highly secure, encrypted biometric database.”

According to Albert Fox Cahn, visiting fellow at Yale Law School and executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, expanding the use of biometrics poses privacy risks for New Yorkers. And unlike a credit card number or driver’s license, biometrics can never be changed, he added.

“This is a terrible invitation to identity theft,” he said. “If a bar or restaurant is hacked, our identities are compromised for the rest of our lives…more biometric data potentially expands the power of government agencies to track us because that data is only a court order away from being turned into it.” police instrument.”

Skoufis responded to the criticism by reiterating that no company or customer needs to use biometrics if they don’t want to. His proposal simply gives them the opportunity to try out technologies that are increasingly becoming part of everyday life.

Amazon uses handheld scanners to verify identities in grocery stores. If the state legislature approves Skoufis’ bill, infamous New Yorkers might even save a little time to get a drink or a cigarette sooner or later.

Cigarettes displayed on a store shelf in New York.
Yale Law School colleague Albert Fox Cahn has blasted Albany’s legislation for creating a risk of “identity theft.”
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

“If anyone has privacy concerns, there’s a simple solution: Don’t use the technology,” Skoufis said in a text. “I prefer to embrace innovation and give people choice than stick my head in the sand and wish I was back in the Middle Ages.” NY eye face recognition to “card” for alcohol, cigarettes


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