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Sofi Summers

How Yoti can help you provide age appropriate experiences online

Online service providers are increasingly being called upon to provide age appropriate experiences online for their younger users. To do so effectively, service providers need to know the age of their users to make sure they’re providing the right experiences.   Why are age appropriate experiences important? The ICO’s Children’s Code, originating in the UK, is driving a global movement to ensure children are able to enjoy online interaction ‘age appropriately’. A growing number of countries around the world are already reviewing legislation for a range of age restricted goods and services, particularly age assurance for online services. Specific initiatives are being developed, with the Californian Age-Appropriate Design Code Act in the US, the EU’s Digital Services Act, and the Online Safety Bill in the UK. Adult content sites are also using Yoti age estimation successfully to prevent children from accessing their websites. What are age appropriate experiences online?  Child safety and protection is the significant factor here. They range from ensuring age appropriate interaction for children, protection against detrimental content and grooming, and supporting age appropriate content moderation. The ICO defines the code as applying to all service providers that have children access their services. This includes:  Social media Streaming services Online gaming Chat rooms Forums Apps    So how can Yoti help with age appropriate experiences online? For a long time, the discussion around age verification has centred on the practicality, effectiveness and cost of implementing such a solution. However, technical solutions have now been developed that are scalable, global and affordable for operators. For example, Yoti’s age estimation is the most privacy-preserving, quickest method of age assurance; it is a global, popular way for service providers to determine age from an image or selfie. Our experience has shown that given the option of age verification methods, around 4 in 5 users choose to use Yoti’s age estimation. Learn more about Yoti’s  age estimation and age verification solutions or get in touch for a demo.

2 min read

Report Remove - one year on

We’re immensely proud to be working with Childline and the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) as part of our ongoing commitment to child protection. It’s been just over a year since we officially launched Report Remove, a tool to help young people report explicit images of themselves on the internet. To use the tool, a young person needs to prove they are under 18. Yoti gives a young person a private and safe way to prove their age, without needing to show ID documents or share personal data. We’re delighted that our tech is helping to make a difference in protecting children online. Solving a growing problem There’s lots of positives of being online – we can stay in touch with friends and family, access information to enhance learning, listen to music, watch films and so much more. However there are times when caution is needed to promote safe use of the online world. One of the risks is when explicit images (sometimes called nudes or semi-nudes) of young people appear online. The reasons why explicit images are taken can vary, and can include being peer pressured, blackmailed, groomed by an adult, dared to take one, to taking images to build self-esteem or as part of a friendship or relationship. Whatever the reason, losing control of an image can bring a mix of emotions for a young person, some of which can be difficult to cope with. Last year, the IWF annual report reported an increase in the number of self-generated child sexual abuse images, most likely due to lockdown as many people spent more time at home and were socially restricted. These images were predominantly of 11-13 year old girls, in their bedrooms or another room in a home setting. In 2021/2022, Childline delivered 234 counselling sessions in which young people spoke about the removal of online sexual images. This was a 19% increase compared to the previous year. NSPCC’s Childline partnered with the IWF to create a tool for young people to report sexually explicit images of themselves on the internet to see if they could be taken down. And for the IWF to remove the image they need to check if the person is under 18. Once captured, explicit images could be posted online and recirculated for years after they were originally created. This is a form of sexual abuse that can be very distressing and have a detrimental impact on a young person’s emotional and mental wellbeing. The NSPCC has received reports from young people saying they feel scared or worried after sending a nude image. And there’s a real loss of control as they just don’t know where the image could appear and who else might have access to it. “What do I do if someone is threatening to post my nudes onto a website where everyone can see? I don’t send pictures like that at all, but then one night I got chatting with this guy online who I’d never met and he made me feel so good about myself – it felt like someone actually wanted me. He told me he was 15, even though deep down I didn’t believe him. I sent him a couple of nudes but then instantly regretted it. I asked him to delete the pics, but he just kept on making me do stuff for him not to post them – like getting me to strip live on camera.” (Girl, 15)* “I don’t know what I was thinking but I sent pictures of myself to this random guy online. He’s now threatening to post the pics on Facebook unless I send him more. I’m freaking out right now, I have no idea what to do. If anyone I know finds out about this, I swear my life will be ruined.” (Girl, 14)* No young person should have to feel this way. Report Remove is helping to protect children online We collaborated with Childline and the IWF to help create Report Remove. The first of its kind, the tool allows young people to report images or videos of themselves that have been shared, or they’re worried might be shared, online. To have a nude image removed, young people must verify that they are aged under 18. Childline and the IWF approached Yoti to see if there was a more private way for a young person to prove their age – one that didn’t rely on them uploading ID documents online or revealing lots of personal information. We’re committed to building tech for good, so we were delighted to be able to help. Once a young person has verified their age using Yoti, they can anonymously report the images and videos to the IWF. The IWF will then check if the content is criminal and, if it is, create a unique digital fingerprint known as a hash, which will be shared with tech companies to help prevent the image or video from being uploaded and shared. Report Remove provides a child-centred approach to image removal, one that can be done entirely online, accessed anytime and puts the young person back in control of their image. The tool is hosted on the Childline website, where young people can access further information, other self-help tools and emotional support from a counsellor. So where are we a year on? We can happily share that many young people have already used Report Remove to see if nude images of them can be removed from the internet, putting control back into their hands and bringing peace of mind and reassurance that their image will no longer be online or be seen by others. Susie Hargreaves OBE, IWF CEO said, “We’re so proud to have created a way for children and young people to regain a sense of control and empowerment. Report Remove, being a world-first, meant we needed to overcome many legal and ethical considerations and think creatively about how to deliver a child-centred tool which works. “Our determination and strong partnerships with Childline and Yoti meant that we succeeded. We haven’t finished, however, as challenges remain. Helping to build awareness among young people that this service is there for them is crucial. And as technology emerges and shifts, we too must keep up to ensure children and young people get the support they deserve.” Cormac Nolan, Service Head of Childline Online said, “At Childline we know that having a nude image shared online without their permission can have a huge impact on a child, and often affect their mental health. “Some children might blame themselves and feel ashamed and embarrassed, whilst others might be afraid to speak out because they are worried about the potential repercussions. “That’s why Report Remove is such an important tool as it provides young people with a way to try and help them regain control over what is happening and get illegal content erased. “With Yoti’s help, anyone under 18 can use the app safely and confidentially in the knowledge that IWF and Childline will do everything possible to remove the content and support that young person moving forward.” We’re immensely proud to be working with Childline and the IWF as part of our ongoing commitment to child protection. This is the perfect example of how our leading age verification technology can make life better for young people and support organisations committed to helping young people online. Please get in touch for further information or to arrange a demo.   *All names and potentially identifying details have been changed to protect the identity of the child or young person. Quotes are created from real Childline service users but are not necessarily direct quotes from the young person.

7 min read

Play Verto research: young people’s attitudes towards facial age estimation

We joined forces with the team at Play Verto for an exciting piece of research to understand what young people thought about facial age estimation technology. Facial age estimation accurately estimates a person’s age based on a selfie. We built it to give everyone a secure way to prove their age without sharing their name or an ID document. The technology can help businesses to create age-appropriate experiences. It can prevent kids from accessing age-restricted content and platforms, and prevent adults from entering platforms for children and engaging with a younger demographic. The results Play Verto reached out to parents and teachers of children between the ages of 9 to 14, to gain their consent to allow the children to take part in the research. Of the 247 children who participated, 2 in 5 claim to have lied about their age online either sometimes, or frequently. 10.5% expressed doing it on a regular basis. This demonstrates why better age verification is needed, and the role this can play in protecting young people online. 50% were curious about how the technology estimates their age. Over four fifths (84.6%) of children said they do understand why websites check age. In regards to facial age estimation, 67.5% understood what the selfie was for and how it would be used. 88.3% said they found the instructions to use facial age estimation easy to understand. It’s very encouraging that despite facial age estimation being new, 62% of children said they were either likely or very likely to use it again. In most cases they found the technology easy to use and understand, and 50% were curious to understand how it could estimate their age. Even though they were not the intended respondents of the research, a number of parents decided to answer the questions on facial age estimation. In the interests of transparency we’ve included these results too. Of the 126 adults, 92.1% said the instructions to use facial age estimation were easy to understand. The vast majority (90.5%) said they understood what the selfie was for and how it would be used. 16% did not want to have their selfie taken. We acknowledge that more needs to be done to reassure those who are unsure about this part of facial age estimation. Conclusion “We concluded that there is a need for accurate age estimation technology to become amply used on the internet to protect young children from accessing inappropriate material for their age. There was some hesitation from a small percentage of adults about having their selfie taken. We advise Yoti to reassure individuals that as soon as their age has been estimated, their selfie is deleted. We feel it is also important to educate parents, guardians and caregivers about the benefits of facial age estimation and the important role it can play in protecting children online.” Michael Sani, CEO Play Verto. “Some well known, global brands are using our facial age estimation to help provide age appropriate experiences online, to ensure young people cannot access 18+ content, and to provide parental consent on behalf of children. As this latest research with Play Verto shows, both young people and adults find facial age estimation easy to use and understand. It is the private, safe and easy way to prove your age.” Julie Dawson, Director of Regulation and Policy at Yoti. If you would like to learn more about age estimation, you can read our FAQs or feel free to get in touch.

3 min read

Post Office EasyID: a look back on the past year

It’s been 12 months since the Post Office EasyID app launched, giving people an easy and safe way to prove who they are. We’re delighted to share the progress Post Office, together with Yoti, have made over the past year on our joint mission to build the UK’s trusted identity network. There’s been plenty to celebrate and some big milestones we’re very proud of. Over three million app installs 🎉 Over three million people in the UK have downloaded the EasyID and Yoti apps, showing that people want a more modern way to prove their identity. Our digital ID apps give people an easier and safer way to prove who they are. Wherever you see the EasyID or Yoti logos, you can prove who you are using your phone, and the number of places you can now use a digital ID is growing. Watch an age rated film at the cinema. Prove your right to work or right to rent. Grab an energy drink or buy a lottery ticket from your local shop. Check who you’re talking to online. Collect a parcel from your local Post Office. This is just the beginning for digital ID. Keep your eyes peeled for more exciting ways you’ll be able to use EasyID. Helped people securely store and share their ID details 📲​ Over the past year, we’ve helped hundreds of thousands of people share their verified identity details, with a business or another person. Anyone with the Yoti or EasyID app can swap their details with another person and be confident about who they are dealing with. These peer to peer checks create more trust and transparency between individuals. They are free and can be done in seconds. EasyID and Yoti can also be used to share verified details with a business. Both apps allow you to just share the details necessary – such as a name or date of birth – instead of revealing an excessive amount of personal information. It’s the safe way to prove who you are. UK cinemas now accepting EasyID 🍿 One of our proudest moments from the past year was when the UK Cinema Association announced that EasyID would now be accepted as proof of age at cinemas.​ Young people can now use our digital ID apps to watch an age rated film, instead of taking important documents out with them. This is safer (say goodbye to the worry of losing your passport in a dark room) and more convenient (just show the cinema attendant your digital ID on your phone). It’s better for cinemas too – with less pressure on cinema staff to accurately check physical ID documents. First government certified provider for digital Right to Work, Right to Rent and Criminal Records checks 🙌 Post Office and Yoti became the first certified digital identity service provider (IDSP) under the UK Digital Identity & Attributes Trust Framework, for Right to Work, Right to Rent and criminal records (DBS) checks. This is another milestone we’re incredibly proud of.​ The Easy ID and Yoti apps give people a simple way to prove their identity with their phone, particularly useful for people like contractors and temporary workers who need to do this regularly. Alternatively, businesses can use our web service that requires a customer to simply scan their documents and add any other required information. Finally, we also provide in-person identity verification services in Post Office branches for people unable, or who choose not to, do so online. Together, Yoti and Post Office offer the most comprehensive solution – offering individuals three ways they can prove their identity and complete Right to Work, Right to Rent or DBS checks. The Post Office PASS card 🪪​ Everyone needs simpler, cheaper ways to prove their age. After all, not everyone can afford a passport and some people aren’t old enough to have a driving licence. This is why last September, Post Office launched the new Post Office PASS card, a physical ID for just £15. The PASS card, issued by CitizenCard, can then be used to create a digital ID with the EasyID app. Young people then have a reusable, secure digital ID they can use over and over again. It’s easy to share only the details you really need to, whenever you need to. Launched in-person verification for the most inclusive identity services solution 🤩 Together, we give people a convenient and safe way of proving their identity – both online and at their local Post Office. We offer three ways for someone to prove who they are – with our digital ID app, online or in-branch at a Post Office. This makes our offering unique, the most comprehensive and inclusive – as no other identity provider offers in-person verification. Here’s to the next 12 months Together with Post Office, we are transforming the way that people prove their identity in the UK. We’re already working with some of the UK’s largest recruitment companies, including uCheck, People Check and Talent Clouds, for digital Right to Work and DBS checks – to get people into jobs faster, reduce recruitment times, streamline onboarding processes and remove geographical barriers to employment. We’re thrilled that more companies are embracing digital identity technology every week. We look forward to helping more individuals securely share their identity details in the year ahead and what’s in store for the future of digital ID here in the UK!

5 min read

Yoti is now an accredited Living Wage Employer!

We’re joining a movement of thousands that believe in a fair day’s pay We’re proud to announce that Yoti has received accreditation and joined thousands of organisations, businesses and people across the UK that support the real Living Wage. So what is it? It’s the only UK wage rate voluntarily paid by businesses who believe their staff deserve a pay that allows them to earn enough to live on and meet their everyday needs. Yoti has always been completely committed to the welfare of our staff and we value everybody across the company. We pay £11.05+ an hour in London, and £9.90+ an hour to UK employees outside of London, and this extends to our third party contracted staff such as cleaners and security.

1 min read

Yoti and Post Office gain UK government approval as certified identity provider for DBS, Right to Work and Right to Rent checks

We are delighted to announce that Yoti and Post Office are the first to be a certified digital identity service provider (IDSP) under the UK Digital Identity & Attributes Trust Framework, for Right to Work, Right to Rent and criminal records checks.   A significant milestone for Yoti and digital identity This announcement marks the first time that a digital identity app has been approved by the UK government, and our partnership with Post Office has enabled us to bring a unique identity offering to the market. The Yoti and EasyID reusable digital ID apps give people straightforward way to prove their identity with their phone, which is particularly useful for people like contractors and temporary workers who need to do this regularly. Alternatively, businesses can use our web service that requires a customer to simply scan their documents and add any other required information. Finally, the partnership also provides in-branch verification services in Post Office branches for people unable, or who choose not to, do so online. To achieve certification, we completed a rigorous audit process undertaken by the Digital Identity Systems Certification service authorised by DCMS and UKAS for the pilot certification process. It represents a significant shift in policy toward digital identity as a valid form of proof of identity, greatly improving compliance processes in our digital world.   What are the changes to guidance? From 6 April 2022, employers and landlords can use a digital identity service provider (IDSP) to complete identity verification for right to work and right to rent checks. British and Irish citizens who hold a valid  passport (or Irish passportcard) will be eligible. IDSPs can carry out digital identity verification to a range of standards or levels of confidence. The Home Office recommends that employers only accept checks via an IDSP that satisfies a minimum of a Medium Level of Confidence. GOV.UK provides a list of certified providers to choose from: Digital identity certification for Right to Work, Right to Rent and criminal record checks.   Why is this important? Over 7 million adults have to complete DBS (Criminal Record) checks a year Over 30 million people work in the UK and have to complete Right to Work checks £1.275m value of penalties issued between 1 July to 30 September 2021 for non-compliance, with a maximum fine of £20,000. 9% of people surveyed have needed to prove their identity due to starting a new job in the past 12 months (Post Office Hot Topics data) 46% of people don’t feel comfortable with businesses taking a photocopy of their ID (Post Office Hot Topics data)   Who are we working with? We are pleased to be working with many of the largest screening companies in the UK, who have recognised the unique proposition the Yoti and Post Office partnership offers.

3 min read