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Customers buying age-restricted products will be able to use mobile devices to confirm how old they are

Proof of age is poised to go digital in a move that will enable customers buying age-restricted products to use mobile devices to confirm how old they are.

The Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) has agreed to develop standards the Home Office will find acceptable so that digital proof of age can be accepted as an alternative to other formats.

The PASS Standards Group, chaired by ACS chief executive James Lowman, will draft standards it will submit to the Age Restrictions Expert Panel at the Office for Product Safety & Standards, part of the Department for Energy & Industrial Strategy, by early October.

PASS board chair Baroness Anne McIntosh said the aim of the new standards was two-fold: to enable customers of age-restricted good and services to be able to use PASS-accredited digital proof of age on their mobiles to prove their age; and to enable retailers to confirm customers presenting digital proof of age were the correct age.

“We will be consulting on the proposals in the coming months and once standards are in place we look forward to the Home Office agreeing to give equal weight to approved forms of physical and digital proof of age when they review the MLCs [Mandatory Licensing Conditions],” she said.

PASS cards are just one form of proof of age specified in the Home Office MLCs as acceptable for the purpose of licensees demonstrating due diligence.

The scheme has the backing of the British Institute of Innkeeping, UK Hospitality and the Wine & Spirit Trade Association, as well as the ACS.

Other acceptable forms of identification for proving age must bear the holder’s photograph, date of birth, and either a holographic mark or ultraviolet feature, such as photocard driving licences, passports and military identification.