Page last updated: June 2022

New York facial recognition for age restricted sales

Senate Bill S1817 relates to the use of biometric identity verification devices for the purchase of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products. The New York State Senate’s legislation would allow businesses to replace physical ID requirements with facial recognition or fingerprint scans.
The New York State Senate is moving forward with proposed legislation that would allow bars and restaurants to use facial recognition or fingerprint scanners to verify someone’s age before they buy alcohol, tobacco or electronic cigarettes.
“This is the new frontier of age verification,” said state Sen. James Skoufis, who is sponsoring the biometrics bill. “It does advance the interests of convenience.”
Skoufis envisions that bars and restaurants could scan fingerprints, faces or retinas of customers who want to be spared the trouble of showing an ID when they return to an establishment in the future. The proposed legislation requires all data to be encrypted and prohibits businesses from selling biometric data to third parties.
Skoufis, who chairs the Investigation and Government Operations Committee, said he expects his committee will advance the proposal to the full Senate. There is currently no sponsor in the Assembly although Skoufis said several members have expressed interest.
Washington state approved a similar proposal in 2018, which allows spectators at professional sporting events to pass security and buy concessions with their fingerprints

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