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Age verification: the solution to buying age-restricted products in supermarkets

Age verification: the solution to buying age-restricted products in supermarkets

Supermarkets as we know them today are vastly different from the ones we were used to twenty years ago. Doing the weekly shop is quicker and easier thanks to supermarkets implementing technological solutions like scan-as-you-shop and self-checkout terminals. Shoppers are becoming increasingly independent, but how can supermarkets assure that their customers are old enough to buy age-restricted products with minimal staff intervention and manual ID checks? Across the UK, supermarkets are looking to adopt new ways to check that their customers are old enough to buy age-restricted products. By embedding our leading age verification technology into their self-checkout terminals, supermarkets could reduce the amount of time customers spend scanning and paying for their shopping.    Digitise your age checks Age estimation Our age estimation tech can instantly estimate a customer’s age via facial analysis – no ID document or pre-registration needed. How it works Customers simply look at the camera on the self-checkout and have their age estimated based on their facial biometrics. If the result of the estimation is above the threshold set by the supermarket, then the customer can continue to pay for their items. If the result of the estimation is below the threshold, the customer can use their Yoti digital ID to prove their age.   Yoti app  The Yoti app could allow shoppers to prove they’re over a business’ age policy using a digital ID on their phone. This requires downloading the free Yoti app and verifying themselves with an ID document and a biometric selfie. They just need to do this once and can use their digital ID for life. How it works Customers scan the QR code on the self-checkout screen using their Yoti app.  They consent to sharing a verified ‘Over Age’ in their Yoti app, which will tell the business they’re over the required threshold.  See how it works Make life easier… … for staff: Efficient: ID checks account for 50% of staff interventions at self-checkouts. Our innovative age verification technology would empower customers to prove their age independently of staff, who can focus on other tasks in the supermarket. Safe: Year-on-year, age-restricted sales are an overwhelming trigger for abuse and violence towards supermarket staff. Age verification tech could reduce contact between staff and shoppers, removing some of the friction created by manual checks. Accurate: Our age estimation technology is more accurate at detecting age than humans. There are several reasons why an employee might not accurately complete age checks. For example, tiredness, biases, or falling prey to fake IDs. This takes the pressure off human error and helps businesses avoid hefty fines for selling age-restricted goods to minors. For more information, read our white paper. … and customers: Faster: Age checks can be done in real-time with accurate age estimations taking less than 5 seconds, dramatically reducing the time spent at checkouts. Accessible: Studies show that about 4.5 million adults in the UK do not own an in-date, recognisable ID. Age estimation would allow them to prove their age without carrying a physical ID card. More convenient: We’re rarely without our phones, or our face for that matter. Shoppers would no longer be denied a sale if they forget their ID document, nor would they risk losing their valuable ID documents, like a passport or driving license. See what these customers thought of our age estimation solution at the self-checkout. If you’re a retailer looking to make age checks more efficient, contact us today or click here for more information.

3 min read
Digital hiring vs in-person hiring: a post-pandemic conundrum

Digital hiring vs in-person hiring: a post-pandemic conundrum

Lord Holmes, life peer in the House of Lords and dedicated advocate for the power of technology, talks about the change in right to work checks as set out by the Home Office. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, digital hiring became more widely adopted following the temporary decision to allow digital right-to-work checks. The Home Office has since decided to revert back to in-person hiring, despite an overall sentiment from businesses that Digital ID checks are more secure and efficient. ***    Building back better with digital hiring On the Home Office’s step by step checklist for how to employ someone, number two, alongside “recruit someone”, is “check they have the right to work in the UK.” For any business employing staff in the UK, right to work checks are an essential requirement. Before Covid struck, these checks had to be done in person. You would take your passport or driving licence to your employer or HR department and they would check them and take a photocopy. Due to coronavirus, temporary changes were made to the way documents can be checked. Instead of requiring in person checks, identity documents could be provided digitally and checks could be made via video call. The digital documents and online checks have been extraordinarily successful, facilitating the recruitment of half a million people during lockdown. But in March 2021 the Home Office announced a return to in person checks. This was an unpopular decision and following pressure from the business community the ability to conduct online checks was extended to June 21st. The Home Office has just announced that they have extended the temporary adjusted checks to 1st September 2021. The situation is far from ideal. Keith Rosser, Director of Reed Recruitment, argues that in person checks do nothing to reduce the risk of employment fraud. The reversion to paper based documents will, therefore, put barriers in the path of legitimate job applications by UK nationals without reducing employment fraud. A return to in person, paper based checks will increase costs and cause delays. One UK Bank commented: “In just the last 5 weeks we have hired circa 150 people into entry level roles in employment hotspots of NE England and South Wales. We plan to continue in this vein through the next 6 months but will be severely limited by the changes and will have to narrow where we hire.” A number of employers estimate that the face-to-face process adds 75% more in time terms than the temporary digital one. Surely this is a time when we must be doing all we can to support individuals starting a new job as well as businesses employing new staff. Equally, we must ensure that the in person requirement for right to work checks is not retained as merely a box ticking exercise to meet a compliance burden. A particularly compelling argument for retaining digital documents and online verification is the fact that they will be retained for non-UK nationals. On September 1st, when employers will have to return to in-person checks, these will apply to UK nationals only. We will enter the truly bizarre situation in that it will be easier for businesses to recruit non-UK nationals than UK nationals. This is surely the kind of unintended consequence the Home Office would wish to avoid. So the digital system reduces costs and delays and has been working well throughout Covid but the incredibly serious problem of illegal working remains. Right to work checks, whether digital or in person do not appear to reduce employment fraud but the great news is that technology can provide a solution. Digital ID offers a faster, quicker, and more secure method of identifying people. There are UK companies building digital ID systems that are used by the UK Government in other areas which could be simply re-purposed for right to work checks. These systems are more secure than face to face checks, will speed up the process and reduce the cost. If the Government is truly serious about building back better then extending the temporary use of online right to work checks while it consults with HR, recruitment and technology professionals on a permanent digital identity scheme is an easy way to demonstrate that they are doing exactly that. ***   Check out Lord Chris Holmes’ original article here. If you would like to find out more about how digital solutions can help you onboard staff remotely, you can get in touch.

4 min read
Romance fraud: how to tell if your being scammed with Yoti peer-to-peer checks

Romance fraud: how to tell if your being scammed with Yoti peer-to-peer checks

In 2020, there were over 270 million online dating users and 2.89 billion users of social media. People have been seeking virtual social and romantic relationships more than ever before, with dating sites seeing huge increases in platform usage following the enforcement of national lockdowns. But if you have ever made one of these accounts, you’ll know just how easy it is to make a profile using a false identity. This practice has given rise to a phenomenon called romance fraud, which UK Finance reported to have cost its victims a total of £18.5 million. There have since been calls for dating and social media providers to ask their users to add their ID to their profiles. In an effort to protect people from scammers, verifying someone’s identity when creating their account means that users can be assured that they really are talking to who they think they’re talking to.   What is romance fraud? Romance fraud, like catfishing, is the emotional manipulation of an individual, but with one clear difference: it’s illegal. Under the Fraud Act 2006, romance fraud, otherwise known as dating fraud, becomes a crime as soon as the perpetrator asks for money under false pretences. It is thought that the increase in romance fraud in 2020 is a result of ‘lockdown loneliness’. With national lockdowns leaving people starved of human interaction, it is easy to see why many people fall victim to scams that hone in on emotional vulnerability. Whilst best practice is to not send money or personal information to people you do not know or trust, there are steps you can take to avoid falling victim to these crimes.   Do your own checks with Yoti Daters can use the free Yoti app to carry out peer-to-peer identity checks. This allows them to privately share personal details with the people they meet online to verify that they are who they say they are. All information shared with Yoti’s peer-to-peer checks is verified from real ID documents, so you can be rest assured that the details have been checked. For example, you may want to verify the name, age and gender of the person you are speaking to online before you meet up with them for the first time. You can also swap other details, such as a selfie, a mobile phone number and nationality. Simply choose which information you want to share. Read more How to use Yoti peer-to-peer Go to the Yoti app. Tap Share and select the details you’d like to swap or share, like your photo or full name. Choose how to swap your details (via text, email or face to face). Once the other person has approved your request to swap details, you’ll get the exact same details from them. Call for dating sites to do more to protect romance fraud victims Whilst some dating sites are already checking their user’s identities, many do not have systems in place to deter people from making fake accounts. By asking their users to upload an ID document and using a trustworthy identity verification provider, dating and social media providers can rest assured that their users are genuine. For more information on how digital identity can change the way we date and socialise online, get in touch to hear more.

3 min read
How big is your digital footprint? Tech expert Gus Fraser tells us how he's fixing the personal data crisis

How big is your digital footprint? Tech expert Gus Fraser tells us how he's fixing the personal data crisis

At Yoti, one of our seven ethical principles is to encourage the personal ownership of data, which is why we are thrilled to have spoken with Gus Fraser, CEO of Revoke, about all things data and privacy. Revoke is the company striving to fix the personal data crisis for individuals. In this Q&A, Gus tells us more about how to manage our ‘digital footprint’, and how tools like Revoke can help individuals avoid data breaches and hacks. *** Tell me about Revoke and what data and privacy means to you. Revoke helps people to regain control of their personal data whilst also helping organisations to remain compliant with data protection legislation. We feel there is a veritable personal data crisis with data breaches happening daily and privacy getting out of control. We want to help fix the broken internet by restoring privacy and balance to individuals.   In one sentence, why should we care about data and privacy? Everybody connected to the internet is exposed to very real and obvious risks such as hacks, fraud and identity theft. However, there are also more sinister threats including being manipulated by Big Tech. Whether you think you’re personally immune to manipulation or not, we know this is happening, and we need to stop it.   What actions can people take to ensure good online data hygiene? And what red flags should people look out for? We strongly recommend using privacy-respecting tools where available. Use Brave to browse the internet instead of Chrome. Use Signal instead of WhatsApp. Use DuckDuckGo instead of Google. Use a password manager. Ensure you have a multi-factor authentication setup where possible on all services. Multi-factor authentication may feel like an inconvenience, but it has the single biggest impact and is definitely worth it to avoid your account(s) being hacked.   What are the differences in data security for businesses versus individuals? Sadly, most people don’t have a cybersecurity department or helpline to call (unless they’re a Revoke Premium subscriber) so it’s unrealistic to think that all individuals have the necessary support to keep safe from all threats. We really would love to help everyone to take the right precautions in the same way a corporate security department might advise a business. That being said, we have a lot of work to do to continually help people to be aware of the risks and protect themselves. On the other hand, businesses have a legal obligation to keep personal data safe, not to mention the obvious commercial risks in not having adequate cybersecurity. However, despite there being big differences, nobody can ever be truly safe, so it’s important to have a plan for when the inevitable happens. From a business perspective, this is usually part of a cyber incident response plan. From an individual perspective, there are steps we would recommend like ensuring you set up multi-factor authentication everywhere it is available and use a different password for all services (ideally using a password manager). We also strongly recommend deleting accounts you no longer use (hint: Revoke can help you with this!)   What positive changes will people see from using Revoke? Revoke provides education and awareness of risks, helping to mitigate these risks by providing tools for our users to exercise their data protection rights, reducing their digital footprint and giving them visibility and control over their personal data. We are also looking at facilitating claims for individuals who have been victims of a breach that will result in financial benefits in future. Premium subscribers have access to a 24/7 helpdesk as well as identity theft insurance, in case the inevitable happens and they have been unable to recover financial losses incurred from their bank or other service providers. What do you think companies should be doing in the data and privacy space in terms of best practice? All companies should ensure that no personal data is stored unencrypted. We also believe that if a company is having to manually intervene to respond to requests from customers, they are quite simply doing it wrong. The only way of truly facilitating customer requests is to automate them, ensuring that customers have control of their data at all times.   How does Revoke identify and address privacy challenges? A big part of Revoke’s activity is education; helping users to understand the impact of choices they have made knowingly or unknowingly and aiding them in exercising their rights. Our lives are intertwined with technology these days. It’s unfortunate that companies like Yoti and Revoke are the exceptions when it comes to adhering to privacy by design principles from the very start; most organisations treat privacy as an afterthought. As a result, legislation and tech are playing catch up to try and redress the balance. Everybody will have seen those annoying cookie banners, but does anybody read them? What about the privacy policies? Both exist to try and give consumers a choice, however, the choices aren’t as easy as they seem. For example, sometimes the service doesn’t work without cookies or the details are too technical and bogged down by legal jargon making it confusing and unclear for consumers.   What do you think is the next big thing for privacy in tech? Ideally, the next big thing for privacy in tech will be complete visibility of our digital footprint and how our data is being used. Should financial services companies be permitted to use social media to determine credit-worthiness? The EU is attempting to curb Big Tech’s influence by banning the use of social media data to check borrowers’ ability to repay loans. However, legislation takes time to catch up and regulate to protect us.  Big Tech is collecting data daily; we’re all individually leaking data every day all day. Data is collected everywhere from apps that we use every day, like our GPS and weather apps tracking us. It’s out of control. The first step is awareness and visibility of what is happening, the next step is to regain control.   If our readers can take one thing away about the online tracking and privacy landscape, what do you think it should be? If a service is completely free, you are typically the product. Businesses are monetising your behaviour and manipulating you. Your purchases, browser habits, clicks, likes and preferences are used to profile you. Whilst you may feel as though you are immune to marketing influence, decisions by insurers or financial services companies could impact our livelihoods.  We need to manage how our lives are at risk of personal data being used against us, rather than putting out fires after we’ve already been a victim of a hack, fraud or identity theft.   Finally, thanks for talking to us today; are there any other sources of relevant information about privacy that you would recommend? Absolutely! For anybody who hasn’t seen The Great Hack, it’s a must. The fascinating Oscar and BAFTA nominated documentary features the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Brittany Kaiser, whose book Targeted provides further insight into the disturbing truth about the multi-billion dollar data economy and how Big Data, Donald Trump and Facebook broke democracy.  Carissa Veliz actually argued in a recent TedX talk that we should end the data economy – and it’s hard to disagree. Carissa’s recent book Privacy is Power is excellent too, as is Shoshana Zuboff’s The Age of Surveillance Capitalism in which there are stark warnings about an inevitable dystopian future if we don’t act on protecting our privacy now. Perhaps we can prevent some of Shoshana’s predictions by regaining control of our data now.    *** If you would like to learn more about Revoke’s services, you can contact the Revoke team here. Alternatively, if you would like to learn more about Yoti’s own approach to data privacy and tracking, you can read about it on our blog.

7 min read
Yoti delivers age verification for Childline and the IWF ‘Report Remove’ tool that helps young people remove nude images and videos shared online

Yoti delivers age verification for Childline and the IWF ‘Report Remove’ tool that helps young people remove nude images and videos shared online

Protecting children online We’re dedicated to using our identity platform as a force for good. We work with experts to explore the challenges people face and help solve these problems using our secure, privacy-preserving technology. One area we passionately support is child protection. NSPCC’s Childline approached us with a challenge that they were tackling with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). To help young people report sexually explicit images of themselves on the internet for removal.  Any young person can report a nude image or video of themselves online and the IWF will work to have it removed if it contains a child and breaks the law. For the IWF to act, they need to be certain the person is under 18, which involved asking the young person to send a scan of their passport or ID, which led to fears of submitting the removal request.   Solving a growing problem The circumstances around self-generated sexual images can vary from sharing for fun, to grooming or blackmail. Whatever the reason, this risks a devastating impact. Reports of self-generated images to the Internet Watch Foundation have doubled in the first three months of this year compared to the same period last year from 17,500 to 38,000. Childline and IWF needed an online age verification system that was secure and privacy-preserving and Yoti was here to help. There are 2 anonymous ways for young people to prove their age to Report Remove using Yoti:   Use the free Yoti app to create a reusable Yoti digital ID on their phone. People add their photo ID document and biometrics to put them in control of their data. Once created it takes seconds to prove their age with just one tap or QR code scan – without revealing any other personal details. Do a one time scan of their ID along with a selfie to prove their age – no other personal details are held or shared.   Safeguarding and supporting young people The secure tool can be found on the Childline website and used by anyone under the age of 18, with Childline safeguarding and supporting young people throughout the whole process. They do not need to provide their real name to Childline or IWF if they don’t want to. In keeping with this child-centred approach, the tool has been developed in collaboration with law enforcement to make sure that children will not be unnecessarily visited by the police when they make a report. Julie Dawson, Director of Regulatory and Policy said “We’re immensely proud to be working with Childline and IWF for Report Remove 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 children and organisations committed to helping young people online.” Cormac Nolan, Service Head of Childline Online said: “The impact of having a nude image shared on the internet cannot be underestimated and for many young people, it can leave them feeling extremely worried and unsure on what to do or who to turn to for support. “That’s why Childline and the IWF have developed Report Remove to provide young people a simple, safe tool that they can use to try and help them regain control over what is happening and get this content erased. “At Childline we also want to remind all young people that if they discover that a nude image of themselves has been shared online that they do not need to deal with this situation alone and that our Childline counsellors are always here to listen and help provide support.” A young person can make a report anonymously at any time of day and the IWF will then work to have the image removed if it breaks the law. A “hash” (digital fingerprint) will be created from the image which will be provided to tech platforms to help ensure the image is not shared or uploaded online. This is the first time that the IWF has accepted images and videos directly, rather than only taking the URLs as they would usually do on their Hotline.   Helping young people take control Any young person who makes a report should also receive feedback on the outcome of their report in one working day from the IWF via Childline. Additionally, Childline also has lots of information on how children and young people can keep themselves safe online as well as advice on what to do if they are feeling pressured to send a nude image and what they can do to help them cope if a situation of this nature has happened. Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive of the IWF, said: “When images of children and young people are taken and spread around the internet, they lose control. This is about giving them that control back. “Once those images are out there, it can be an incredibly lonely place for victims, and it can seem hopeless. It can also be frightening, not knowing who may have access to these images.  “This tool is a world first. It will give young people the power, and the confidence, to reclaim these images and make sure they do not fall into the wrong hands online.”  For further support, children can contact a trained Childline counsellor on 0800 1111 or via 1-2-1 chat on www.childline.org.uk

5 min read
How is Yoti's electronic witnessing feature used to digitise paper processes in line with HM Land Registry?

How is Yoti's electronic witnessing feature used to digitise paper processes in line with HM Land Registry?

Since developing a sophisticated eSignature tool, Yoti’s market-leading electronic witnessing (eWitnessing) solutions are changing the way businesses manage their documents and contracts whilst remaining compliant with HM Land Registry. By digitising their operations, lawyers and conveyancers can take a step back from paper processes that take several days and transform it into something that can be undertaken in a matter of minutes. With our legally binding electronic witnessing solution meeting HM Land Registry requirements, the benefits of eWitnessing are now being fully felt by property conveyancers and lawyers alike.   So, what’s different about Yoti’s eWitnessing features? With eWitnessing comes a number of the same benefits that many digital processes have, such as being more time efficient and reducing paper use. But what does Yoti do differently? Privacy is priority Thanks to Yoti’s limited document view, the signer can confidently have their documents witnessed in the knowledge that their details are blocked from view.  Safe and secure By using a one-time passcode, unauthorised people will not be able to access the document. This, alongside a secure audit trail to trace all unique identifiers of both the signer and the witness means that you ensure your documents are traceable and only in the hands of those who need it. Compliant and legally binding All documents signed using Yoti’s eSigning are legally binding and compliant with eIDAS, ESIGN Act and UETA. The team at Yoti has also worked closely with HMLR to shape eWitnessing guidance so that we are fully HMLR compliant. Easy and hassle-free With our flexible API and easy-to-use portal, our eSignature tools are easily integrated into your business processes to ensure simple eWitnessing.   What are the features of Yoti’s eWitnessing platform? Limited document view Sometimes confidential or private documents need to be witnessed. In order to maintain the confidentiality of the documents, a limited document view blocks the content from view so that the witness is unable to see, and the signer’s details can remain confidential. They are only given access to fields that they need to sign.  Audit trail  Our eSignatures platform tracks the path that the document travelled through along various stages to ensure a high level of confidentiality and security. The intent of signing and other identifiers, such as IP address, timestamp and email address, are used as digital proof that a document is legally signed to a standard that is admissible in court. One-time passcode For greater security and compliance with HM Land Registry, we have added a one-time passcode feature that restricts unauthorised people from accessing the document. The signer and the witness will receive an access code on their mobile phones, which adds another layer of security.  Upcoming features We hope to soon add geolocation features to the Yoti eSignature and eWitness platform. The document owner will be able to check the location of both the signer and the witness by verifying their credentials using the Yoti app.   Electronic witnessing with Yoti in accordance with HM Land Registry: a step-by-step guide Step 1: Once the document that requires witnessing is uploaded to the eSign platform, select the fields that need to be populated by the signer. Step 2: Shortly after, the signer receives a one-time password that will allow them to populate the appropriate details and select a witness who will engage with the signing of the document.  Step 3: Once completed, the witness will receive a one-time password which allows them to access the document in order to complete their information. Using Yoti’s eSignatures platform, witnesses are not able to see the content of the document.  Step 4: Once both parties have populated the relevant information fields, the sender will be sent confirmation that the document has been both signed and witnessed, along with unique identifiers that can be used in an audit trail.   Interview with HM Land Registry on electronic witnessing Yoti’s James Lancaster and Sam Rowe hosted Michael Abraham and Robin Malpas from HM Land Registry during the webinar focusing on the eWitnessing legality. If you’d like to try out eSignatures platform for yourself, you can sign up for a 30-day free trial or fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you in the next working day. Want to know how your firm can benefit from eWitnessing? Contact our legal expert James Sales Manager – Legal Tech Expert +44 7956245022 james.lancaster@yoti.com Connect with James on LinkedIn “At Yoti, I work with some of the most prestigious names in the legal sector, advising on digital transformation, optimising their productivity and efficiency, cutting costs and increasing customer satisfaction.”

4 min read