Government Consults on Digital Age Verification for Alcohol Sales

In a bid to modernise age verification processes for alcohol sales, the government is currently seeking public input on the potential integration of digital identities and technology. The consultation also explores the necessity of amending legislation to ensure age verification occurs not only at the point of sale but also at the point of delivery for non-face-to-face transactions.

Under the Licensing Act 2003, safeguarding children from harm is a primary objective, mandating that alcohol sales must not be made to individuals under 18. At present, only physical identity documents with specific features, like holographic marks on driving licenses, are accepted for age verification.

Recognising the potential benefits of embracing new technologies, the government aims to improve both consumer experience and retailer compliance. The consultation seeks feedback on amending the Act to permit the use of digital identities and technology for age verification, provided that robust national standards are established to ensure their efficacy and security.

The consultation addresses gaps in current legislation concerning transactions conducted without face-to-face interaction. While the act mandates age verification at the point of sale or contract appropriation, it does not explicitly require checks at the point of delivery or service. The government is considering amendments to clarify these requirements.

As digital technologies continue to shape our daily lives, it is crucial to ensure that regulatory frameworks adapt to safeguard consumers, uphold industry standards and protect businesses against unlawful practice.

(Source: GOV.UK, January 2024)

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