The Home Office is contemplating new regulations that could introduce facial recognition and age-estimation software for age verification in pubs, bars, and shops selling alcohol. Under the proposed changes, individuals purchasing alcohol may have the option to undergo face scans or provide fingerprints instead of presenting physical identification.

A recent Home Office consultation has been initiated to explore the potential use of “digital identities, age estimation, and other technology” to assist staff in verifying customers’ ages. The government is considering amending the Licensing Act 2003 to include digital identities and technology as acceptable proof of age, allowing for more secure and convenient age verification.

Policing Minister Chris Philp emphasized the government’s interest in enabling secure and appropriate technologies that enhance the consumer and retailer experience. The consultation also contemplates the use of age-estimation tools, which analyze a person’s face to estimate their age, although this technology is acknowledged to be less developed, requiring new standards.

While having a digital ID would not be mandatory, the government believes there may be substantial support for incorporating digital identities and technology in the hospitality, retail, and licensing sectors. The proposed changes aim to receive backing from businesses and law enforcement, enhancing age verification processes in alcohol sales.

Garry Kemp

Garry Kemp, AGF's political correspondent, is a seasoned journalist known for his astute political analysis. With a focus on providing a balanced perspective, Garry's contributions enrich AGF's commitment to delivering high-quality news content. His extensive experience in covering political landscapes ensures that readers receive a nuanced understanding of current affairs.

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