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Biometric booze vending machine verifies buyer’s age – but only if they have the app

Biometric booze vending machine verifies buyer’s age – but only if they have the app

As biometric identity schemes continue to emerge and compete, perhaps offerings such as being able to buy beer from a vending machine might help consumers decide which scheme to go with.

Black Fire Innovation, the hospitality technology venture from Caesars Entertainment and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, has announced a prototype of such a vending machine. It incorporates identity verification via Civic Technologies blockchain and Identity.com’s open-source age verification system.

Thirsty? To buy your can of wine, you first need to download the Civic Wallet mobile app and register by verifying your phone number, email address and submitting a scan of an official physical ID credential. You then verify this document by submitting a 3D face map via video selfie biometrics. The use of video for biometric matching prevents presentation attacks like holding a photo up to the phone, as Civic COO Chris Hart told Vending Times.

Civic has previously formed separate partnerships with FaceTec and Onfido to integrate their face biometrics.

Then when making the beverage purchase, the vending machine generates a QR code. You open up your Civic Wallet app and scan the code. And then scan your own face biometrics again. The app verifies whether you match the profile previously registered, and authorizes the machine to vend. The machine does not store any user data, nor does Civic, except in the digital wallet on the user’s smartphone.

After going through that you may initially be disappointed as the concept machine does not actually sell alcohol yet, but soft drinks, to Black Fire tenants, reports The Spoon.

Despite the ‘Powered by identity’ branding on the machine, the age verification element is anonymous. The machine only gets a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer on age verification, no further personal details. It is not clear what information on alcohol purchase permission attempts Civic holds.

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