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Washington legislators vote together to OK biometric age verification for alcohol

Washington legislators vote together to OK biometric age verification for alcohol

Washington State senators have unanimously approved a bill that would allow biometrics to be used for age verification. Its use would be optional for bar owners and imbibers.

The legislation must now be taken up by the state’s lower house and, if approved there, signed by the governor. Liquor regulators say bar owners should get more guidance on use of the systems.

The Senate’s version (SB 6179) would make it legal to verify a patron’s age using hardware and software that reads fingerprints, palms, irises, faces, voices or other biometrics, the text of the bill specifies. It is not currently illegal to use biometrics for age checks in the state, but the bill could provide greater clarity for businesses, according to the Washington State Standard.

The data gathered could not be used for any purpose than the obvious and consumers would have to be told what data is being collected. If it’s to become law, it would have to be signed by the governor by March 7.

Biometrics company Wicket is among those that provides face biometrics for authentication at events. The Cleveland Browns football team deployed Wicket systems at alcohol concession stands, for example.

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