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Robin Tombs

Strong support in the House of Lords for digital age verification

Strong support in the House of Lords for digital age verification

On Monday 20th July, several members of Lords gave strong support for digital age verification, including Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Lord Clement-Jones, Lord Stevenson of Balmacara, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, Lord Arbuthnot of Edrom, Lord Holmes. It’s fair to say that all concerned want effective digital age verification, even those that were opposed to the development of digital age verification during the Lords debate such as  Baroness Pickering and Baroness Williams. But for it to be effective, it needs to be standards based and meet the requirements of industry stakeholders and the public. What was NOT clear on the floor of the house was: That digital age checking on a phone, checked by a human, is not the same as digital age verification or age estimation integrated to a self checkout or terminal. It takes on average 63 seconds for a retail assistant to come over and look at a document.  It would take the same 63 seconds for a retail assistant to come over and check digital proof of age on a phone, so that does not help during the COVID-19 pandemic.  It takes under 3-5 seconds for a person to age estimate or to age verify on a self checkout. Age estimation supports the 24% of UK adults who do not have ID documents and works across all skin tones and genders. Age estimation can enable over 25s or over over 30s, who represent the majority of the UK’s approximate 50 million adult population to prove to the self checkout they are over the required age A bulk of the volume of retail transactions in the UK are moving to self service; which under COVID-19 is helpful as it is contactless. For alcohol, current regulations currently require millions of business staff to estimate age, but do not allow much more accurate machines to estimate age.  Humans are accurate to within about 8 years at assessing age and are biased.  A machine with age estimation is accurate to about 2 years and unbiased. Large retailers want to reduce the strain and abuse to staff by using this tech which is already integrated into the self checkout terminals of all the major manufacturers. Current standards for AV The new proposed PASS standard focuses on in-person proof-of-age on a phone but it doesn’t cover age verification or age estimation technology performed at the self checkout without human intervention. It doesn’t cover online age verification, which can be performed by uploading an ID document or with age estimation technology. However, the PAS 1296: 2018 Online age checking, does cover online age verification. Championed by the Digital Policy Alliance and the AVPA, the guidance assists online service providers to verify an individual’s age without being able to access their full identity. It promotes a tailored approach rather than a one-size-fits-all process, and deals with tokenised, data minimised, age checking across sectors with effective anti-spoofing. The time is ripe for it to be developed to a British Standard.    A double attack Whilst both of these standards focus on digital age verification, we would advocate that two tracks are needed to cover: Online and in person proof-of-age at the self checkout. The already developed PAS 1296 standard can be used in this context and can support retailers during COVID-19. In person proof-of-age on a device that is viewed by a human. This can be covered by the future PASS Scheme but must be inclusive of the whole population and consider different sources of retrieving an age, such as from an ID document or an estimated age for those without an ID document. Check out age verification in action in the video below. 

4 min read
FRANKD & Yoti’s breakthrough COVID-19 testing system brings UK theatre back to a socially-distanced stage

FRANKD & Yoti’s breakthrough COVID-19 testing system brings UK theatre back to a socially-distanced stage

We couldn’t be more excited to see our breakthrough COVID-19 testing system get the UK’s first socially-distanced indoor theatre performance on stage at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre. Sleepless, A Musical Romance, will be performing daily COVID-19 tests with FRANKD & Yoti, which delivers a result directly to an individual’s phone within 30 minutes of being tested. The FRANKD tests will be carried out and analysed on-site in the theatre without the need for a laboratory. This fast and effective testing system will help the theatre company create a COVID-secure environment and rehearse safely before their premiere on Tuesday 1 September 2020. The spacious venue means that there will be no physical contact between the staff and audience at any time and that social distance measures can be strictly obeyed.  Audiences will be temperature checked on entering the building and will be requested to wear face masks. What’s the FRANKD test? The FRANKD test is a Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT), which is recommended by the WHO for testing for SARS-CoV-2. The test detects the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA by using samples taken from the nose or mouth with a swab stick. These samples are mixed with a patented enzyme and analysed in a portable machine with no need for a laboratory.  This test is a low-cost alternative to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology, which uses heating and cooling cycles to amplify the amount of genetic material present in a sample. FRANKD uses Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) technology to allow DNA amplification without requiring these time-consuming heating and cooling cycles or the specialist equipment to create these environments. Developed by leading biotech company GeneMe, the FRANKD test has been independently verified to deliver 100% accuracy on Covid-19 specificity / sensitivity and carries the European CE regulatory mark. Up to 90 samples can be processed in the portable analyser in under 30 minutes, making it easily scalable for mass testing across the population. How will it work? The cast and crew behind Sleepless will be asked to download the free Yoti app and secure their account with a phone number, PIN and security selfie. This is their biometric key that links them to their account and ensures no one can mis-assert their test result. Once set up, they can use their Yoti app to scan the QR code on their test kit. This links them to their unique test and ensures the correct result is automatically issued to its rightful holder once the test is complete. A mouth swab is used to take a sample which is mixed with an enzyme and analysed in a portable machine along with up to 90 samples.  As soon as the test result is registered centrally, the information will be automatically issued to the individual’s Yoti app, equipping them with a digital health certificate on their phone, The show will go on We are delighted to be working closely with Sleepless to prove just how simple and effective COVID-19 testing can be and help get the theatre and live events industry back up and running. We hope to help many sectors, from healthcare to airports, factories, corporates and small businesses, who are all in need of accurate, fast, on-premise testing. It’s been exciting to join forces with the GeneMe team and demonstrate the limitless potential of our app. If you’d like to know more, you can find our testing guide here or you can get in touch and we’d be happy to discuss how we can help you with fast, on-premise COVID-19 testing.

3 min read
Assured Advice for Yoti digital age assurance from Trading Standards

Assured Advice for Yoti digital age assurance from Trading Standards

Limit contact and contagion during COVID-19. Prove your age with Yoti’s contactless ID app and age estimation technology. Yoti’s privacy preserving solutions are compatible with Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) Assured Advice guidance for age-restricted goods including knives, lottery tickets and tobacco products. This is now reinforced by updated Assured Advice from the Primary Authority team for Yoti, based at Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards.  This means that people can purchase these items with Yoti’s contactless ID app and age estimation solutions. The business and consumer are protected – legally and from the contagion risks that come with traditional ID checks.   The growing age verification challenge for retailers Selling age-restricted items responsibly has never been easy but it’s getting harder. More needs to be done to protect retail staff working at the frontline of the Covid-19 crisis. Retailers are defying self containment to keep us supplied. Sadly, reports of attacks on people at the frontline of help have been reported and follow an unfortunate trend.    More restricted items, more attacks A recent British Retail Consortium report stated 115 shop employees are assaulted each day. The ACS Crime Report 2019 also highlighted that “enforcing age restricted sales” and preventing “alcohol sales” are among the top three reasons for rising attacks.  There are over 150 items that require age verification in UK stores including alcohol, knives, nicotine, as well crackers, party poppers and deodorants. All fall under different laws that require retailers to show they try to prevent underage sales.    AV checks for alcohol in the backdrop of social distancing And then there’s alcohol which carries its own Mandatory Licencing Conditions (MLC). Written in 2014, it states that an ID must contain an individual’s photo, name, DOB and have a holographic mark or UV feature to be AV eligible for alcohol sales offline – all the features seen on fake IDs readily available online. You can use a Yoti digital ID to buy alcohol online at www.jagershop.co.uk. But you can’t buy that same bottle of Jagermeister in the physical world using Yoti due to the MLC. Still, you could use Yoti to buy a knife, cigarettes, medicines, crossbows or hazardous acids.    Removing friction  Age checks make up for 50% of all interventions at the self-checkout and the average waiting time for staff to reach and review a customer idea is  63 seconds, bringing delays for everyone.  Traditional ID checks are near impossible to handle safely and securely if we want to avoid the risk of contact and contagion during social distancing. With this in mind, it’s time for the government to move to review the MLCs in this time in order to make supermarkets a safer place for consumers and staff.  Following assessment of Yoti’s identity verification processes, their Assured Advice includes a number of key factors that should give retailers high confidence in Yoti’s ability to help them meet their legal obligations. These include: Yoti is ISO/IEC 27001 certified and has been since 2015. Yoti has received a ‘clean’ SOC 2 Type 2 report from a leading professional services firm. The Yoti App was certified under the ‘Age Check Certification Scheme’, to provide Electronic Identification Verification Technology (e-IDVT) to issuers of ‘PASS’ (Proof of Age Standards Scheme) cards in the UK; Age Scan and the Yoti App were certified to the BBFC’s Age Verification Certification standards. The Yoti App and Yoti Age Check Cards use a number of specialist and qualified staff in face comparison and document authenticity examination. This is undertaken in a ‘Security Centre’. The Yoti App and Yoti Age Check Cards authenticates data cryptographically on the document chip where that is possible. The Yoti App and Yoti Age Check Cards verify identity documents with the issuing authority where that is possible. Yoti deploys the use of biometric technology for secure verification and authentication of users. Yoti’s Age Verification Methods in more detail Age Scan Yoti Age Scan is a mature technology that uses advanced AI to estimate people’s age. It deletes the image and returns an estimated age to the retailer. Given the accuracy of Yoti Age Scan, we recommend 25 as a buffer to prevent underage sales. The mean absolute error across ages, genders and skin tones is ± 2.67 years. In addition, under 0.15% of 14 to 17 year olds are estimated to be over 25 by Yoti Age Scan as shown in our whitepaper. Yoti ID app The Yoti app is a free app that lets businesses securely verify and authenticate their customers in seconds. Yoti verifies the identity of individuals using a combination of leading AI technology and our expert security staff. An individual with a Yoti can then digitally identify themselves online and in-person in a way that is simple, safe and secure. Yoti is a global, trusted identity platform that accepts over 240 forms of identification, including passports, driving licences and national IDs, from over 180 countries. Yoti promotes data minimisation and user privacy – with Yoti unable to access, mine or sell their data for marketing purposes. For age checks. A shopper is presented with a QR code on an ePOS screen or via a Yoti Age Check card, which they scan using the Yoti app. This prompts an age check request which the consumer accepts to share their age.  Our integrated ePOS solution tells the retailer the customer is 18+. Or Yoti Age Check cards prompts their Yoti app to display a digital ‘passport quality’ image of the consumer along with an animating security symbol and timestamp for the retailer to observe.  It’s a modern solution that fights the age old AV problems for both retailers and consumers. Boosting speed and security while limiting contact and contagion.  For more information contact covid19@yoti.com

5 min read
Making the Yubo app safer for users

Making the Yubo app safer for users

Just in time for Safer Internet Day, we’re excited to announce our partnership with social networking app Yubo. Founded in 2015, Yubo is a platform for young people to form friendships online. Its mission is to create a safe space for teenagers and young adults to socialise and share content in a safe, responsible way. With over 20 million users, Yubo understands the immense challenge of ensuring that the community remains safe for everyone. They’ve been working to ensure that only individuals who are the correct age can access the app. That’s why Yubo has chosen Yoti and our age estimation technology Yoti Age Scan to help protect young people online. Using artificial intelligence (AI) for good, our technology will estimate the age of individuals and flag accounts where there is suspicion or doubts about a user’s age. Owners of flagged accounts will be able to use the free Yoti app to verify their age and identity. Individuals will also be able to verify their name, so that Yubo can highlight verified users to others increasing trust across the community.   Using AI to estimate ages on Yubo Using a form of AI called neural network learning, Yoti Age Scan accurately estimates a person’s age by comparing an individual’s face to many thousands of other age-verified faces. Since adopting the technology in December 2018, Yubo has conducted over five million age checks using Yoti Age Scan, which would not have been practical or cost effective to do manually. Yoti Age Scan can estimate age within 2 seconds and the service can already handle over 1m checks per day.   How Yoti age estimation works in collaboration with the Yubo App   Yoti Age Scan is private and anonymous. There’s no need for individuals to register in advance or provide any documents as evidence of their identity. Yoti Age Scan simply estimates their age, deleting the image immediately after.   Making Yubo safer for young people We’re delighted that Yubo has chosen to use Yoti Age Scan to help with this vital step to protect young people online. Yoti Age Scan can estimate someone’s age with a high degree of accuracy, and Yoti gives people the chance to verify their age in a private and secure way. Our work with Yubo shows how Yoti’s technology can help make the internet a safer place for young people. Clearly legislators, regulators and parents are all concerned to ensure children and younger teenagers only see content that is age appropriate, and do not mix online with unknown older adults. AI technology like Yoti Age Scan will help to address some of these requirements. COO of Yubo Marc-Antoine Durand agreed the technology will help further enhance the safety of the platform. “We’ve selected Yoti’s age estimation technology, Yoti Age Scan, to give us a simple, private and secure way to make the app safe for our users; a vital step to help safeguard young people online. “We are excited to develop a partnership with Yoti and use their identity verification technology to further enhance the safety of our platform for our users.” Yubo is the first social media site to use Yoti Age Scan to help ensure individuals can only access age-appropriate content. We continue to see more uses for our Yoti Age Scan technology, as a growing number of businesses are adopting it to provide age-restricted goods and services, both online and in person.

3 min read