New York State Considers Biometric Scanning For Alcohol and Tobacco Purchases

What you need to know:

On March 4th, 2021 during a regular New York congress assembly session, a new paragraph was suggested in relation to additional verification measures before the sale of alcohol, tobacco, or electronic cigarette products. This bill would allow retailers to require some form of biometric scanning such as fingerprinting, iris scanning, facial scanning, etc. before permitting the transaction.

Why do they want to start Biometric Scanning?

Not only would this be “the new frontier of age verification”, but it would also “advance the interests of convenience,” said state Sen. James Skoufis, who is sponsoring the bill. The state Senator is not only hoping to cut down on the number of fake IDs being sold, but by using facial recognition and fingerprint scanning, it could lead to a future of convenience. Skoufis is hopeful that one day, customers won’t even have to take their ID out at previously visited establishments. 

When does it go into effect?:

While it remains unclear as to when the new law will go into effect, we do know that the New York State lawmakers are scheduled to adjourn for the year of 2022 on June 2 to further discuss items on the agenda. However, although it remains undetermined when the new ruling will go into effect, it does not mean businesses should wait. With global supply chain shortages, the invasion of Ukraine (the supplier of around half the world’s supply of neon needles needed to create chips) and another lockdown in the province of China responsible for the product of most of the world’s microchips, the time to prepare is now. 

Compliance:

Although this new bill would allow businesses to require biometric data, it does not mean they are required to do so. Simple age verification measures such as ID Scanning are still acceptable for those that wish, but anyone under the age of 21 should still be denied purchase. However, why stay stuck in the “Middle Ages”, as one senator stated. This new ruling could not only put a strain on the fake ID realm, but could prevent the sale of harmful substances to minors. By analyzing unique facial shapes and features, sophisticated algorithms are able to create a specific signature for an individual’s face, much like a unique fingerprint. To learn more about how our facial recognition software works, please read our Facial Recognition Anti-Spoofing blog.

Benefit:

ID Scanning and Biometric Scanning not only eliminates human error, but they also help to speed up processes in an already time consuming process. This technology allows you to quickly identify individuals who are underage, catch fake IDs, create specific profiles, and much more. All of the major companies of the future are already using biometric scanning as a means of visitor management, so why not join them in the future.

IDScan.net’s age verification and biometric solutions can help retailers verify age for every customer and catch fake IDs. We offer ID scanning, facial scanning, and fingerprint scanning solutions currently, while striving for innovation of new verification solutions as well. Contact a member of our team to learn more: 888.430.8936.

elon musk tweet

“Authenticate All Real Humans” – How Can Elon Musk Combat Bots on Twitter?

Last week Elon Musk bought Twitter for $45b. His goal? Make the platform “free speech friendly.” But he faces a tough challenge: how to enable free speech without letting bots and bad actors run amok. Musk’s solution: “authenticate all real humans.”

But what does authenticating all real humans mean? During my nearly 20 years in identity technology I’ve worked hard to help educate businesses about what “authentication” means. So naturally when I heard Musk use the term authenticate I began to think of his true meaning, and how he might implement a strategy that makes Twitter open, usable, and bot-free. Or how he might take it one level further to match individual identities to each Twitter user.

Bots Vs. Humans

A very simple way to keep the bots off Twitter is to force users to perform a liveness check using facial recognition. Liveness checks are a feature of our Age Restricted Vending product, and are used in that instance to check that someone is not holding a photo up to a camera to scam the system. A liveness check can include actions such as:

  • Smile
  • Turn head side to side
  • Remove glasses
  • Remove mask

Liveness checks can be performed via selfie. The user simply uses the backward facing camera, and places their head inside an oval that is overlaid on the screen. They are then prompted to perform between 1 and 3 liveness checks. The program can then virtually confirm that they are a live human. 

Liveness checks can be performed and liveness can be validated in <5 seconds. This step could be done as a pass fail with no other identity verification or authentication checks. It would simply confirm that a real human is associated with the account. It would, however, exclude potential Twitter users who do not have access to a camera. Live humans would also, theoretically, be able to be verified on multiple accounts. So it would not necessarily solve the issue of call centers or troll farms where real humans are acting as bots. 

Mobile ID Validation

Liveness checks are a great option to ensure that Twitter users are real humans. But they don’t actually tie a user to a real human. To do this, Musk would need to perform some type of ID checking. The information on the ID could then be checked against self-reported information. Mobile ID validation is commonly used by banks and financial institutions for loan origination, and for online gaming to verify age. 

To perform ID verification remotely, the user would need to take front and back photos of their ID. Then two key things occur. One, the information on the front of the ID is read using optical character recognition, and matched to the information stored in the barcode. Then the barcode is scanned and reviewed for any issues, as many fakes contain issues inside the barcode itself. 

PII could be flushed after front and back matching, and/or checking against the existing Twitter database is performed. Or some combination of information could be retained. It all depends on the policies created when the system is set up. 

When combined with a selfie, mobile ID verification is a great way to match a digital identity to a real human, and perform some basic checks to ensure the ID is real. However, because phone cameras can’t perform UV/IR scanning, or look for holograms, they won’t be able to perform more stringent authentication.

ID verification is one of the three methods Twitter currently uses to confirm identities for the blue checkmark for verified accounts.

An actual photo of a troll farm – showing it is real humans, not “bots” that negatively impact the user experience on platforms such as Twitter

Mobile Authentication

So as I mentioned, authentication needs more sophisticated, powerful hardware such as the E-Seek M500 (used by the TSA) or the CR5400. These scanners include powerful cameras with high image resolution and several different types of light, so they are great at catching fake IDs. 

However, it isn’t practical for Twitter to physically authenticate everyone. A mobile solution is required. So to truly check for fakes and authenticate identity, a mobile authentication solution would be required. This is accomplished by checking identities against a third party database. It is a similar solution to what we provide for our cannabis delivery customers, who need to authenticate IDs in a mobile environment. 

Twitter would simply scan the back of the ID, containing the barcode, and then run a check against a trusted third party database (we offer both US and global checks). This would match a real individual to the account, confirming that the individual exists, and could perform additional checks such as location, which could mitigate foreign call centers using IDs.

Mobile authentication is typically priced per scan, with volume discounts applying at the scale in which Twitter would be operating. They would likely want to implement a stepped approach, in which their most high risk or controversial accounts are forced to go through the mobile authentication process first, or accounts are forced to undergo mobile authentication after a ban or a warning. 

Conclusion

In the end, it really comes down to the nuance of what Musk said. Does he want to match every Twitter account to a real human? Or does he just want to block obvious bots? If the former, will this information be public, like Facebook? Or will only Twitter know the true identities of users? And how will this work for companies? If removing bots is the true motive, then how will he eliminate call centers and farms that are behaving like bots?

Why Colorado Driver’s Licenses Won’t Scan

Many bars, clubs, and dispensaries are reporting issues scanning Colorado driver’s licenses that were printed in 2016 and later. This resulted in many calls from owners who thought that scanners were malfunctioning. However, the issue is actually with the IDs themselves. Because Colorado IDs expire every 5 years, and these IDs were launched in 2016, this means that virtually all of the 4.3M drivers in Colorado are using a driver’s license that may have issues being scanned.

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The Future of Digital Identification: An Interview with Denis Petrov

1. What are your thoughts on Apple launching driver’s licenses and state IDs on the Wallet app?

This is a further advancement of the digitization of our society, where tokenization replaces paper/ plastic documents of the past. We’re based in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Louisiana was actually one of the first states to allow for mobile driver’s licenses. So we’ve had our driver’s licenses, and now our COVID-19 vaccination cards on our phones for several years. It is unbelievably convenient and I had no doubt as soon as it launched that other states and entities would be adopting it soon. 

This is just like digital payments replacing cash. Our phones have become an extension of ourselves so it makes sense that we would start migrating everything important onto our phones. However, identity documentation is always going to move slower than payments because there is government regulation involved. 

I think where it becomes tricky is trying to reach some sort of standard, since every state (and country and region) is different. But we will have a gradual evolution and wider adoption over the next ten years. 

2. How do you see this changing ID verification in the future?

Obviously it will make things faster. No more sending licenses by mail. All licenses are linked to the database, so if you have an expired license it would be indicated right on your device. It will definitely make IDs much harder to fake.

3. How can IDScan.net contribute to Apple creating this feature?

IDScan.net pioneered ID scanning on iOS devices in 2009, by releasing a first-ever ID scanning app.  We have 13 years of experience to share and pass along. We also have, and I don’t just say this because it’s my company, the best authentication library out there. There are so many “tells” for IDs; every single state has hundreds of things that might get messed up when you have a fraudulently created ID. Over 13 years we have identified the vast majority and our software checks for them. 

So we love contributing to big projects around ID authentication because it allows us to share the knowledge we’ve gained over all our years in business. Apple obviously has great developers and resources, but some things you have to learn from experience. 

4. Do you see this benefiting IDScan.net? Why or why not?

Certainly benefiting, as we will continue to further improve technologies around Digital identities, KYC, and ID validation.

How to Prevent Online Gaming Fraud

The COVID-19 pandemic forced people all over the world inside for a long quarantine and many are still maintaining social distancing. Our tans have long faded and we’ve run out of Netflix shows to binge, so millions have turned to online gaming. Read more

Beer bottles six pack

Alcohol and Cannabis Delivery During COVID-19 Pandemic

Many states have relaxed their rules, but checking IDs is still key to compliance

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