Face Scans Could Foil Fake IDs

By Bryan Le 03/30/12

One company claims its software can spot underage drinkers with face-recognition technology.

mclovin id.jpg
New tech could make a fake ID as useful as
a sexy hamburger.
Photo via

Sneaky underage youths with fake IDs trying to buy booze might find themselves betrayed by their own fresh faces—Face.com has new tech it claims can determine a person's age with just one look. By scanning a human face (or photo), taking note of shape, wrinkles and smoothness and then cross-referencing its findings with its database, Face.com's software can let a liquor store clerk know to turn away that unusually tall teen, foiling any plans of drunken under-21 mischief. But of course the software risks miscalculating the age of folks who look unusually young, pegging 30-year-old Kate Middleton as age 23 (and calculating 30 years to be her maximum upper limit) as well as inspiring countless “will not work on Asians” quips from commenters. “Adults are much harder to figure out [their age], especially celebrities," says Face.com Chief Executive Gil Hirsch. "On average, humans are much better at detecting ages than machines.” But the company will continue improving on its facial recognition tech, hoping one day to be able to turn away children trying to watch R-rated flicks on Netflix—and even to target digital billboards at the age group of anyone who gets close.

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter