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Bill allowing biometric age verification for booze sales moves to Missouri Senate

Bill allowing biometric age verification for booze sales moves to Missouri Senate
 

The Maryville Forum reports that Missouri retailers could soon perform age verification using biometric methods such as facial recognition or palm screening, after a bill permitting biometric systems for alcohol sales passed in the state House last month. Under HB 2599, Missouri retailers would be allowed to use biometrics to verify the age of customers buying alcohol, provided the customers have enrolled a government-issued ID with the relevant biometric verification vendor.

AI-driven verification that uses machine learning techniques to identify 1-n matches will not be allowed under the proposed law. Verification processes will have to run through a third-party biometric identity or age verification provider.

“This legislation represents a proactive step towards modernizing our approach to age verification in alcohol sales,” says Rep. Jeff Farnan, R-Stanberry, who sponsored the bill. “By harnessing the power of secure identity verification systems, we can ensure responsible alcohol distribution while minimizing operational burdens for businesses.”

Looser rules for biometric data than similar Washington law

The law has raised attendant privacy concerns. HB 2599 permits vendors to store and sell customers’ biometric data to third parties with customers’ consent. There is an option to opt-out and request the removal of personal data from a vendor’s database. Customers would also be allowed to opt out of the program and request that their data be removed from the vendor’s database. Retailers, too, can opt out of biometric age verification, and must still accept physical ID cards for alcohol sales.

Still, with U.S. privacy law in a tangle of competing legislation, policing data management could be complicated. Earlier this year, Washington senators approved a bill allowing optional use of biometrics for age verification at drinking establishments. That legislation also allows biometric age verification, but it prohibits vendors from using the data they gather for any purpose other than the obvious.

Sports venues have been among the first to embrace biometric payments and age verification systems for alcohol sales.

HB 2599 now moves to the Senate.

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