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Helping Instagram provide new ways to verify age

Helping Instagram provide new ways to verify age

If someone in the US changes their date of birth on Instagram from under the age of 18, to 18 or over, they are required to verify their age. Starting today, Yoti’s facial age estimation will be one of three options people  will have to do this. The other two will be by uploading an ID document and social vouching. These are both powered by Meta.    Meta’s approach to age verification In 2019, Instagram began asking people to provide their age when signing up for the platform. Since then, they’ve continued to ask people for their birthday and have made this a requirement to get a full picture of how old people are on Instagram. Knowing how old everyone is allows them to provide different experiences to different age groups, specifically teens.  When they know if someone is a teen (13-17), they can default them into age-appropriate privacy settings, prevent unwanted contact from adults they don’t know, and limit the options advertisers have to reach them with ads. Many people, including young people, may misrepresent how old they are online, whether by mistake,  because they don’t want to share their age, or because they want to access services not meant for them. Some companies have turned to government issued identity documents or credit card checks to verify age but many people, particularly teens, don’t have access to these forms of ID. The addition of Yoti’s age estimation technology to the existing range of solutions offered by Meta means users will be provided with more equitable options to verify age that protect peoples’ privacy.    A privacy-preserving way to verify age Meta will be using Yoti’s age estimation technology as one option to verify age. Yoti’s technology has been trained to estimate age by looking at facial features in an image. It was built to give everyone a secure and private way of proving how old they are. It doesn’t require any personal details or documents, and it has no way of linking a name or an identity to an image.  Yoti’s facial age estimation is built in accordance with the ‘privacy by design’ principle in the UK GDPR. No individual can be identified by the model and it encourages data minimisation because it only needs a facial image. The image is only used for the purpose of estimating age. Once a result is given, the image is instantly deleted.    How Yoti’s age estimation works on Instagram If someone chooses to verify their age with Yoti, they will see instructions on screen to take a video selfie. After they take the selfie, Meta shares only the image with Yoti. No other details are shared. The image is analysed by AI that has been trained to estimate age. To the technology, the image is simply a pattern of pixels, and the pixels are numbers. Our facial age estimation technology has been trained to spot patterns in numbers, so it learns ‘this pattern is what 16 year olds usually look like’. The estimated age is then shared with Meta. After this, both Meta and Yoti delete the image. Yoti’s age estimation technology can’t recognise identity – just age, so it does all of this without ever learning who anyone is. Yoti does not use these images to train the AI further. Yoti’s age estimation technology has performed over 500 million checks worldwide, and is being used by a range of businesses and industries around the world including social media, gaming and age-restricted e-commerce. We’ve answered the most commonly-asked questions on facial age estimation. If you’d like to see how it can help you deliver an age-appropriate experience, get in touch to arrange a demo.

4 min read
The future of Digital ID: What it means for you

The future of Digital ID: What it means for you

Digital identity has become a hot topic for consumers and businesses alike. With more and more services being offered online, verifying your customers’ identities digitally has become so valuable and necessary. Proving who we are online or in-person should be easy, but it’s still not the case for over one billion people worldwide who lack a legally recognised form of identification. A further 6.6 billion people have some form of identification, but can’t use it and are left out of today’s digital ecosystems. As a result, many are prevented from accessing the most basic services. Businesses can’t reach potential customers who can benefit from their services and boost economies under considerable stress.  Digital IDs are essential for a future where a person’s identity is widely accepted and accessible.  First, we need to appreciate the power of digital IDs so let’s discuss why it’s time to embrace it.   What is your digital identity? A digital ID’s significance can be understood if we first get to grips with the concept of your own digital identity.  Essentially, a digital identity is a collection of personal information about you that exists online and can be connected to your actual identity. It’s as slick as it sounds, letting you safely prove who you are to a business, organisation or another person online.   What is a digital ID? A digital ID is an electronic version of a physical ID document, such as a passport or driving licence, stored on your phone. In this form, it can include a variety of personal information such as your name, age or address – the same information that forms your digital identity.  This electronic ID is designed to make it easier for you to prove who you are while sharing as little data with companies, people and so on. Our Digital ID app allows you to upload a government-issued document and instantly verify your identity in hundreds of locations across the UK, including Post Offices, Payzone and many more services.   How can digital identification be used? It serves as proof of a customer’s identity online, allowing them to access services without physically showing paper identification. A digital ID can be used in various situations, from shopping to travelling.  In fact, they’re already being effectively used for opening a bank account and securing new jobs. In the UK, employees are legally required to prove that they have the right to work in the country to a new employer, but government guidance changed on the 6th of April to enable employees and employers to use certified digital identity providers to carry out identity checks. Yoti are the UK’s first certified identity service provider (IDSP) under the UK Digital Identity & Attributes Trust Framework, for Right to Work, Right to Rent and criminal records checks. Read more about the guidance change. Having fewer obstacles in the way of verifying a customer’s identity widens the range of online services people can easily access, from education to government and even entertainment services.  We’ve collaborated with several governments to help citizens reach their services without needing to show ID or risk sending a photocopy of documents physically and without leaving their homes.  Jersey residents can do their taxes online if they create a Gov.je services account with our digital ID app, meaning they don’t have to visit a local office and risk having their important documents potentially stolen or lost.    Why is a Digital ID necessary? Leading industries and governments are beginning to recognise the benefits of digital identity. Digital IDs can improve accuracy, security, and data protection for identifying customers in digital spaces. In the UK, it is estimated that nearly 1 in 4 people do not have traditional ID credentials.  With digital identities aimed to become ‘as trusted as passports’ by the UK government, many are still lacking the tools to verify their identity in online environments effectively.  Without a recognisable proof of identity, people are denied a range of services they have a legitimate right to access (such as financial or medical), meaning billions globally are at a disadvantage.  Digital IDs are currently only available with a photo ID document, again limiting its reach to those who can obtain one, but thanks to our work in Age Estimation, we’re moving forward to find ways to make them more accessible and inclusive.  Our cutting-edge facial estimation technology allows anyone to prove their age without an ID document. With our technology, anyone can be age-checked by simply looking into a camera on a device while remaining completely anonymous. The technology has been proven to be much more accurate than humans and is able to estimate the age of  6-12-year-olds within 1.28 years and 13-19-year-olds within 1.55 years. To discover more about the accuracy rates, read our regularly-updated white paper. It will only be a matter of time before digital IDs become the primary way we interact with businesses.   The UK government plans to introduce a single digital identity for citizens, offering a single sign-on for public-facing government sites such as GOV.UK, allowing access to services such as childcare and annual MOT checks digitally.  Governments recognise they can streamline and strengthen their civic services by implementing digital IDs, removing the need for excess or potentially lost paperwork, streamlining procedures and creating a more manageable system. Digital IDs are also important for customers from a privacy and security perspective, allowing them more control over their personal information and the way it’s shared with businesses.  This form of identification reduces the chance of fraud and identity theft as you can track your data, knowing exactly what will be captured and how it will be used.   Why is it essential for businesses to embrace digital identity? Businesses are already adopting it, although many still don’t accept it as a form of verified identity.  Digital IDs and identity verification solutions allow businesses to enhance the authenticity, security and overall efficiency of identifying their customers. It minimises the risk of human error and improves the overall customer experience. Ensuring everyone has a way of verifying their identity means everyone can access the same services and everyone can access your business. Having a national digital ID, much like Australia with its Digital ID platform, also reduces the risk of online fraud. This is especially important in sectors such as banking and financial services, as well as retail and travel.  As a result of the ongoing pandemic affecting said sectors, having the means to verify customers digitally ensures services can still continue online in a much safer and secure way. A digital ID can also seamlessly connect different government services, creating more coherent and accessible experiences. By linking data across departments, as well as creating digital forms instead of PDFs, more user data can be placed into analytical systems during the onboarding process.  Implementing Digital IDs on a widespread basis can positively affect businesses and the economy overall by formalising economic flows. According to the McKinsey Global Institute report, applying digital identities across the globe, including the UK and the US, could unlock economic value equivalent to 3 to 13 per cent of GDP by 2030.  Estonia and Spain have already successfully employed  Digital IDs and seen positive returns.  In 2021, the Spanish and German governments signed an agreement to develop a joint cross-border pilot program for digital ID, as part of the European Commission’s plan to develop a European digital identity. In Estonia, most residents have e-ID cards that enable access to the state portal. To date, it’s the only nation where citizens can cast online ballots in every type of election, from local to parliamentary. Since this adoption, more than 1,300 new companies have been created, bringing an additional USD 4.6 million into the Estonian economy.   Why does Yoti believe in the power of a digital ID? We believe the key to solving many challenges people face worldwide is a safe, trusted, and user-friendly digital identity.  The Yoti app was built to be a more accessible way of proving and verifying identities in a digital world. Our free, reusable Digital ID app provides customers with a convenient and private way to verify their identity to a business.  We’re on a mission to become the world’s most trusted identity platform, with a radical, new approach to storing and protecting data. Working with over 600 companies that span national retailers, social media platforms and online dating, we’re helping to inform and educate, believing it’s important to understand what a Digital ID is and how you can benefit from it.   How do customers create a reusable ID with the Yoti app? All a customer needs is a government-issued ID document (driving licence, passport or Citizen Card) and to take a biometric selfie. With a digital ID, users can easily manage their information. Their personal information is stored using secure encryption and can only be accessed by them. Having a Digital ID on their phone helps keep important documents safe from being lost or stolen.  A verified digital identity also helps them manage their Digital ID credentials and keep track of who they’ve shared data with and where. With a unique Digital ID, an individual has only one identity within a system, making it easier to fight against fraud and manage users. Creating a Yoti digital ID They will join over 11 million people currently using their Yoti as a secure form of ID online and worldwide. It’s also accepted in over 30,000 Post Offices, Payzone stores and convenience stores in the UK. The Yoti app is built with privacy at the core, which means we can’t see or share any user data. Our business model is to charge businesses to receive identity details and we pride ourselves on this commitment to privacy and security. That’s why we’ve designed our system to make it impossible for us to access or generate revenue from user information.  Find out how convenient it is for your customers to prove their identity with us. Co-authored by Ferreneik Betton

9 min read
How Yoti can help you provide age appropriate experiences online

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
Facial Age Estimation white paper

Facial Age Estimation white paper

Making it faster and safer to prove your age Our age estimation technology accurately estimates a person’s age by looking at their face. We built it to give everyone a secure and private way of proving how old they are in different everyday scenarios: from age checking on social platforms and online stores, to supermarket self-checkouts, bars and clubs. This privacy-friendly approach to age verification doesn’t require any personal details or documents, and all information is instantly deleted once someone receives their estimated age – nothing is ever viewed by a human.   Key takeaways from the report The current accuracy rates (Mean Absolute Errors) are:  2.96 years for 6-70 year olds. 1.52 years for 13-19 year olds. 1.56 years for 6-12 year olds. Users are not individually identifiable.  Helps organisations to meet Children’s Codes or Age Appropriate Design Codes. Does not result in the processing of special category data. Gender and skin tone bias minimised. True Positive Rate (TPR) for 13-17 year olds correctly estimated as under 23 is 99.65%. TPR for 6-11 year olds correctly estimated as under 13 is 98.91%. Download the executive summary (updated May 2022)Download the latest white paper (updated May 2022)Download the previous white paper (October 2021)

1 min read
Future plans for Right to Work and Right to Rent guidance

Future plans for Right to Work and Right to Rent guidance

In December 2021, the Home Office announced that from April 6th, there would be changes to the guidance for completing right to work and right to rent checks.  Advice was amended at the start of the pandemic to allow right to work checks to be performed via a video call – following feedback from organisations, this temporary guidance has been extended until September 30th.  The updated Right to Work guidance will come into effect on 6th April, a new scheme under the Department of Culture, Media and Sport Identity and Attributes Trust Framework. The aim is to develop the market for digital identities, and engender trust in businesses and citizens to enable this future-focused, more efficient way of proving identity.  You will still be able to continue using video calls to complete checks – this temporary adjustment has been deferred until September 30th 2022.  However, the big change is that you will be able to accept digital remote checks from April 6th. There is a certification process being undertaken at the moment and Yoti, in partnership with Post Office, is actively undergoing its own certification.  So, how can I now perform right to work checks and ensure I’m meeting the guidelines? Video calls are still allowed until September 30th 2022 Physically checking a candidate’s document on day 1 and taking a copy is still valid From April 6, you can use a digital identity provider Read more about how our unique partnership with Post Office can help you with right to work and right to rent checks.

2 min read
The different ways to check age

The different ways to check age

Checking age no longer has to rely on seeing an ID document. In fact, you don’t even need to see a name.  With Yoti Age Verification, businesses can check the age of their users without processing or storing any personal data. Users choose their preferred way to prove their age, from convenient things like a selfie or a mobile number. We work out the age, delete the personal data and share just the result with the business. That way, businesses can be confident they’re delivering age-appropriate services to the right people, whilst protecting their privacy. Here are the different ways to check age. Remember, it doesn’t matter which method someone chooses to prove their age. Yoti will always remove any personal data and share just the result of the age check. Facial age estimation People simply look at the camera on a device and have their photo taken. The image is analysed by an algorithm that has been trained to determine age by analysing facial features. A robust facial age estimation process should also include liveness detection technology to ensure it’s a real person in front of the camera. Good for: People without ID documents Global coverage Low friction   ID document  Your customers scan a photo ID document and take a selfie using the camera on their device.  Their ID can be analysed to make sure it’s genuine and the document photo is matched to the selfie.  Good for: High assurance Global coverage   Digital ID Your customers scan a QR code using their digital ID app and share a verified age attribute, such as 18+ or 21+. This requires a one-time onboarding process with an ID document and a selfie. Once created, users are verified for life and can use their digital ID to prove their age or identity details with businesses online and in person. Good for: Reusable authentication High assurance Global coverage   Credit card check Verify your customer is over 18 using their credit card details. This method proves your customer is in possession of a registered credit card, which in most countries, can only be issued to people old enough to sign a credit agreement.  Good for: Background checks Specific countries   Mobile number check Verify your customer is over 18 using their mobile provider details. Mobile phone numbers can be checked against contracts issued by mobile carriers. You should ensure the phone is in the possession of the contract holder before checking their contract and be aware parents will take out contracts for their children. Good for: Accounts linked to a mobile number Background checks Specific countries   Database check Verify your customer’s name, date of birth and address against a credit reference agency database. In some countries, users will be on a database if they have signed a credit agreement. This may exclude those in lower income groups or younger adults and students. Good for: Background checks Specific countries

3 min read