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Myth busting Digital ID

Myth busting Digital ID

There’s no denying we’ve moved most of our lives online, and the majority of the time, our phones are the instant portal we use to get us there. They’ve become our personal shoppers, our social life planners and documenters, our music, films and books all in one. With everything already in the palm of our digital hand, it makes sense that the way we prove our age and identity should be too. A Digital ID is your ID on your phone, replacing physical documents with a smarter, instant way of proving who you are. We think it’s the future but understand why some people might not be quite ready to leave the past behind. In an age of unconsulted data collection, and subtly curated Instagram pages, why trust another thing on your phone that’s asking for your personal details? We’ve been listening to the concerns out there and we’re ready to bust some of those myths about our technology.  It’s government controlled This is not true. We’re a private company and our Digital ID app is voluntary –  you can back out at any time if it’s not for you. It’s not designed to push society towards mandatory Digital ID cards. Instead we give individuals the choice to create and use a Digital ID. It’s not for us to say how you prove your age or identity – that’s up to you.  This is the start of a surveillance society While we’re shaping the future of digital identity, we’re not trying to create a state of surveillance. In fact, quite the opposite. The Yoti and Post Office EasyID apps are built to make it safer and more private for people to prove who they are. We can’t and never will identify people sharing age or identity information, and we can’t track them once they’ve downloaded the app. No-one else can access your data – not even Yoti. The only person that can share and access your data is you, because that’s how it should be.  This is just a marketing ploy  While we’re our technology’s own biggest fans, it doesn’t mean you have to be. We’ll never tell you it’s the only option as we think there should always be a non-digital alternative. We believe that it should be your choice to use a Digital ID. That’s why Yoti and EasyID are completely optional.  Digital IDs aren’t private or secure A Digital ID is actually more private than showing a physical ID document. Every time you show an ID you reveal so much personal information about yourself – your date of birth, full name, passport number, photo and so on. Our Digital ID app only asks for certain information, such as your age or ‘over 18’. You can securely share verified details at the tap of a button or the scan of a QR code. It’s an easier and more secure way to prove your age or identity.  You’re also protected if you lose your phone or it ends up in the wrong hands. A Digital ID is your data in your hands, and it definitely won’t be in someone else’s hands – no-one else can access your Digital ID. This means you’re actually more protected against the risks of identity theft compared to if someone were to find your passport or driving licence.  You can’t use a Digital ID anywhere We’re very proud that our Yoti and EasyID apps are being accepted at more and more places. Young people can prove their age at UK Cinemas, so they can leave their passport safe at home. The apps can also be used online or in-store at over 30,000 stores across the UK! So next time you’re buying lottery tickets, tobacco or just nipping off the street to grab an energy drink, we’ve got you covered.  We’ve also been trialling the apps at a number of supermarkets for the purchase of alcohol, including Asda, Tesco, Morrisons and Co-op. We’re now just waiting for the results to come in so watch this space… Thanks to new Home Office guidelines introduced in April 2022, if you’re a UK or Irish citizen, you can also use the Yoti and EasyID apps to prove your identity for Right to Work checks. A much simpler way to prove your Right to Work, identity details can be submitted online, perfect for a hybrid workplace, or where an organisation may have locations nationally.  This will exclude those that don’t use a Digital ID Our Digital ID doesn’t exclude or discriminate against those that don’t use it. We believe there should always be an alternative for those who still want to prove their age or identity by whichever way feels familiar and comfortable to them.  A Digital ID is just a photo of your ID on your phone Not quite. It’s true you need to take a picture of your government-approved ID but this is just to create your Digital ID. Once you’ve finished setting up your account, you can then use your Digital ID to just share specific information – this could be just your name or your date of birth. By sharing data piece by piece, you can control the specific details you share rather than showing a full ID. This is a more private way to do things. Is Yoti a self-sovereign app? Some of you might be wondering what that means. A self-sovereign (SSI) app is designed to “place the digital ID back into the user’s wallet” and reduce the compliance and burden of data storage for businesses. So instead of having a central database for users’ data, the individual or business has sole ownership over controlling their accounts and personal data.  We do things a little differently. Although only users can access their own data, we store the data. So technically, this excludes Yoti from the SSI category.  Instead, we distinguish ourselves by storing data in an encrypted vault that only the user can access with an encrypted key stored on their phone.  Can I use a digital ID wherever I need to prove my age or who I am? While we admit a Digital ID can’t be used for everything just yet, the number of ways you can use a Digital ID continues to grow. If you have any other questions we haven’t answered here, then please get in touch.

6 min read
Muzz introduces selfie and identity verification from Yoti for safer Halal dating

Muzz introduces selfie and identity verification from Yoti for safer Halal dating

18th January 2023, London, UK – Leading Muslim dating and marriage app Muzz (formerly muzmatch) has partnered with digital identity company Yoti to give singles increased confidence and transparency over who they are connecting with online.  Muzz has integrated Yoti’s photo verification technology to confirm every dating profile belongs to a real person. On account creation, users are required to take a selfie, which will be analysed by Yoti’s proprietary passive liveness technology, MyFace. The technology checks that the selfie is captured from a real person by detecting different presentation attacks, such as printed and digital photos, videos and masks. If the technology detects the image is not from a real person, they will be asked to take another selfie, helping to reduce the risks of fake profiles and catfishing.  MyFace only requires a selfie image to complete the liveness check, creating a smooth user experience and speeding up the process of verifying genuine accounts. Muzz has also integrated Yoti’s identity verification technology, to strengthen online safety even further. Members can verify their identity for free. Muzz will boost the verified profiles, giving these daters a higher chance of connecting with more people.  “Muzz is the world’s largest Muslim marriage app, so we have a responsibility to lead when it comes to safe spaces for Muslim singles. Yoti’s ID verification and MyFace technology give our members peace of mind that their matches are who they say they are,” says Shahzad Younas, CEO and Founder of Muzz. Robin Tombs, CEO of Yoti said: “We’re delighted to announce our partnership with Muzz to give Muslim singles greater peace of mind, trust and transparency over who they are connecting with online. Muzz pride themselves on creating the safest dating platform for the Muslim community, so we are proud they have chosen our technology to enhance their existing safety measures. Our technology has seamlessly integrated into the Muzz app, showing how dating platforms can verify users, without compromising their online dating experience. Verified profiles will make it easier and safer for honest people looking for love, and create safer, positive matches.” The partnership with Yoti allows Muzz to enhance their existing safety measures, which include an all-female support team, video and phone calls within the platform so users do not have to share their phone number, and the detection and removal of nude images.     Notes to editors Yoti’s liveness technology – MyFace – is certified against the NIST standards by iBeta. The difference between passive and active liveness: Active liveness requires the user to take a video of themselves performing certain actions. For example, moving toward and away from the camera, or repeating random words. This then uses AI and / or manual review to complete the check. Passive liveness can be achieved from a single selfie. Passive liveness reduces friction for users, thereby reducing drop off and speeding up the journey of verifying genuine users.  About Muzz Muzz (formerly muzmatch)  is the world’s largest Muslim dating and marriage app, with over 7 million members and 400,000 successes. Founded originally as a website in 2011 by former Morgan Stanley banker Shahzad Younas, Muzz has seen massive success since the launch of its iOS and Android apps in 2016. The company has over 80 team members with offices in the UK, US, France and Pakistan. About Yoti  Yoti is a digital identity technology company that makes it safer for people to prove who they are, verifying identities and trusted credentials online and in-person. They now provide verification solutions across the globe, spanning  identity verification, age verification, document eSigning, access management, and authentication. In the UK, Yoti has partnered with Post Office to accelerate digital identity adoption, with a national footprint spanning 11,500 Post Office branches, online and more. Over 12 million people have downloaded the free Yoti app across the world. It is available in English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese and Polish. Yoti is certified to ISO/IEC 27001:2013 for ID Verification Services, ISAE 3000 (SOC 2) Type 2 certified for its technical and organisational security processes. For more information, please visit www.yoti.com.

4 min read
Konfir partners with Yoti for certified income and employment attributes

Konfir partners with Yoti for certified income and employment attributes

We are delighted to be working with Konfir, a B2B SaaS platform that lets employers instantly access employment or income records for any UK-based worker, with their consent. Konfir is at the forefront of the shift in determining how employment and income data is captured, verified, and shared, and has become the first certified Attribute Service Provider (ASP) under the UK Digital Identity and Attributes Trust Framework (DIATF). As the first government certified provider of employment and income data, globally, Konfir provides employment and income information, including work history, previous job titles and dates of employment, to companies or Identity Service Providers (IDSPs). Employers can request and share employment and income information at the touch of a button, speeding up the time to hire and onboard candidates using real-time employment data.  Before employment information can be issued to an individual, it’s important to verify their identity first, to ensure the right details end up in the right hands. That’s where we come in.  Through our partnership with Konfir and as the first certified IDSP, employers can request identity and employment history for individuals simultaneously. Individuals begin by choosing to verify their identity online or through the Yoti or Post Office EasyID app. Once we’ve verified their identity, Konfir will then provide their employment history activities as verified credentials.  Typically, sensitive employment data is captured and shared in an unsecure way via email, PDF or on phone calls. With Konfir and Yoti, HR teams can spend less time manually checking documents, which not only saves time but also improves security. Individuals always consent to share their identity and employment data, giving them greater control and transparency over what information is shared with companies.  Konfir is the latest company to embrace the power of digital identity checks. Since the government adjusted the way Right to Work checks could be completed, the recruitment industry and employers are enjoying the flexibility digital checks allow at scale. Yoti and Post Office, the first certified digital identity service provider, are proud to be delivering digital identity checks for companies up and down the country.

2 min read
A look back on 2022

A look back on 2022

In a year where life feels like it’s in full flow again, so does Yoti! We continue to be the most downloaded Digital ID in the world, but that’s just half the story of our 2022.  We’ve been busy teaming up with some of the world’s biggest social media platforms, got ourselves accepted in cinemas across the UK, and became the first certified digital identity service provider under the UK Digital Identity & Attributes Trust Framework for Right to Work, Right to Rent and criminal records checks. That and much more! Here’s a look back on what’s been going on with us this year…   Created age-appropriate experiences online  Together with some of the biggest social media platforms, we’ve made lots of positive changes to keep children safe online. Meta are using our facial age estimation technology to deliver age-appropriate experiences on Instagram and Facebook Dating. And with 81% of users on Instagram choosing facial age estimation over uploading an ID document, it’s proving to be the most popular way to verify age online. Social network app Yubo started asking first-time users signing up for an account, or existing users who haven’t yet been verified, to confirm their age with our facial age estimation technology. By being able to know who is a child, young users can safely explore the platform and make friends with people in the same age group. OnlyFans also introduced our technology to protect children and ensure underage users cannot access the platform, which further bolsters the existing identity verification measures OnlyFans already has in place in the UK. Completed millions of age checks  Our facial age estimation is being used globally by a wide range of social, gaming, ecommerce, adult, gaming and retail organisations. To date, we have completed over 570 million age checks using our privacy-preserving technology, and have the ability to scale to tens of millions of age checks every day.    Campaigned for a safer internet Our Chief Policy & Regulatory Officer, Julie Dawson, attended the annual FOSI 2022, hosted by the non-profit Family Online Safety institution (FOSI). She led a lively panel discussion with Google and Kantar experts on recent FOSI research that looks at parents’ and childrens’ awareness, attitudes, and behaviours towards age assurance, exploring who’s responsible for monitoring what children see online and how much their privacy is protected. Julie was also invited to speak at Meta’s Summit on Youth Safety and Well-Being where she spoke with Meta Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan on the importance of getting age verification right.  For us, speaking at events is about more than just taking part. It’s a chance to show that purposefully designed technology can provide safer, age-appropriate experiences online.   Approved by regulators and named by the French President’s wife Our facial age estimation technology can play an important role in protecting young people and improving online safety, so we were thrilled when it was approved by the German regulator, KJM, for the highest level of age assurance. This means it can be used for 18+ adult content.  President Macron launched his international innovation lab on the protection of children in a high-level meeting with a selection of platforms and NGOs at Elysée Palace. In the meeting, Brigitte Macron asked Meta directly, very intrigued whether their implementation of Yoti’s facial age estimation technology to assess the age of minors worked. Meta confirmed our technology was helping to create age-appropriate experiences for young people. Merci!    Completed a summer of supermarket trials  Things heated up this summer when we had a number of supermarkets trialling our technology. Shoppers purchasing alcohol could simply look at a camera on the self-checkout, or use the Yoti or EasyID Digital ID app, to verify their age instead of waiting for assistance.   Created safer gaming experiences We teamed up with Regal Gaming technologies to solve the challenge of age verification in the offline world too. As the UK’s leading provider of gaming machines to the leisure and hospitality industry, they’re committed to helping staff create safer gambling experiences.  With our technology in their gaming machines, customers now have two ways to prove their age digitally – with a real-time selfie or using our reusable Digital ID apps. Became the first certified provider for digital Right to Work checks   Yoti and Post Office became 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. This announcement marked the first time that a digital identity app has been approved by the UK government.  Since being certified, we have been selected by over 600 companies for digital Right to Work checks from industries spanning retail, technology, financial services, charities and universities. We have also partnered with the majority of the world’s major employment screening companies including uCheck, First Advantage, Verifile, Hire Right, People Check, Talent Clouds and Sterling Check who have all embraced the digital checks and now offer employers and candidates a faster and more secure method of verifying identity documents. Over 13 million Digital ID app downloads This year, we reached over 13 million app downloads and continue to be the most downloaded Digital ID in the world.   Digital IDs became accepted at UK Cinemas UK cinemas started to accept the Yoti and EasyID apps as proof of age. Young people aged 13+ now have a safer, more convenient way to prove their age when watching age-restricted films – meaning that important ID documents, such as passports, can now be left at home. They no longer need to worry about keeping their passport safe and can instead focus on whether the popcorn should be sweet or salty. In other news… We were awarded 5th place out of 3,000 in the Top 100 Startups, Businesses, and Entrepreneurs in 2022 by TechRound, the UK’s fastest growing startup and tech news site. We celebrated amazing partnerships including THG Ingenuity, Fluttr, Further, Department of Trust, Preloved and many others.  As part of our ongoing work to protect young people, we helped check the age of attendees at the summer garden party of Mosaic LGBT+ Young Persons’ Trust. The event was for under 18s, so attendees were asked to show ID or prove their age with our facial age estimation technology. This helped safeguard the event, ensuring only those of the right age attended.  There’s so much we’re proud of this year. We can’t wait to see what 2023 has in store.

6 min read
Privacy-preserving facial age estimation

Privacy-preserving facial age estimation

As a parent, one wants young people to thrive and access the best of the online world. But the ease with which very young people can stumble across or access restricted, inappropriate or explicit content concerns me greatly.  In my role as Chief Regulatory and Policy Officer, I engage with regulators, businesses, politicians, charities and parents every day. I hear and read stories of young people who have been negatively impacted by what they have seen and experienced online; and see that whilst for many there are positive experiences, it is the vulnerable who are the hardest hit. It’s time for a reset to address how best to support all young people online. Thanks to the introduction of the Children’s Code here in the UK and the recently passed Louisiana Age Verification law and California’s Age Appropriate Design Code Act, we are starting to see positive changes. Along with the much anticipated Online Safety Bill, regulators and companies are now seriously looking at the role age assurance can play in providing children and young people with safer, more positive and age-appropriate experiences.  However, some people still think or try to assert that suitable privacy-preserving age assurance methods do not exist. There are some who think the only way to effectively prove our age online is to use an ID document or credit card. This is a truly outdated viewpoint, and simply isn’t true.  The people making these statements are stuck in the past. Of course someone might still choose to use an ID document, mobile phone number or a credit card to prove their age online. But not everyone has access to these approaches, and there’s a lot of people who do not feel comfortable sharing this information online.  There are now certified privacy-preserving methods which do not require individuals to share personal details like their name, address or passport number. Facial age estimation is one such method, built to give everyone a secure way to prove their age without sharing their name or ID document. It accurately estimates someone’s age from a selfie, and most importantly, as soon as their age has been estimated the image is permanently deleted. There is no central database of images, it is not facial recognition and we are not sacrificing our privacy for convenience.  Facial age estimation is being used globally at scale by a wide range of social, gaming, ecommerce, adult, gaming and retail organisations. Platforms like Instagram, Facebook Dating, Yubo and OnlyFans are using facial age estimation to help create age-appropriate experiences. The technology can handle tens of millions of age checks every day, and if required, we can double, triple or even quadruple this.  Privacy-preserving facial age estimation is proving to be popular with individuals too. When presented with a choice of using an ID document or facial age estimation to verify their age on Instagram, 81% are choosing to use our technology.  Once the age of an individual has been assessed, a platform can act in the best interests of that child or adult. In practical terms that could be to turn off notifications late at night, not allow geolocation tracking, turn off age inappropriate advertising or profiling, provide support which is age appropriate. It becomes possible to prevent children from being contacted by over 18s, or from seeing explicit, inappropriate content.  Facial age estimation can play an important role in protecting young people and improving online safety – and it’s already being used everyday to help create age-appropriate experiences. But this is just the beginning. There’s still a long way to go but as a parent, it’s reassuring to know that the technology does exist to protect young people online. I’m very proud to be working for a company that has developed technology which can have such a positive impact in creating a safer digital world. 

4 min read
How the Safety Tech industry is creating a safer internet

How the Safety Tech industry is creating a safer internet

With an ever-growing need to protect people online, we’re proud to be working with the Safety Tech industry. We’ve taken a look at just how this industry is going about such important, sensitive work online.    What is the Safety Tech industry? It provides innovative technology to protect people online, collaborating with organisations in this sector that share a commitment to improving online safety.  Safety Tech providers develop technology and solutions to create safer experiences and combat harmful content, contact or conduct. Whether it’s verifying the age of users, providing parental consent for when children are online, or advising and supporting a community of moderators to remove harmful content, they’re constantly exploring ways to help.    Why is Safety Tech important? Everyone has a right to feel safe online, yet sadly this isn’t the case. It’s far too easy for young people to access inappropriate and harmful content, with children as young as seven stumbling across pornography online. Children are being tricked into sharing explicit images of themselves (with the majority of self-generated child sexual abuse images of 11-13-year-old girls). With adults able to falsify their age to access younger platforms there’s growing concern that children’s privacy and rights are not protected.  But there are early signs of change. Across the UK and worldwide, more legislation is coming into force to address these issues. Last year, the ICO introduced the Children’s Code in the UK, imposing a set of standards for businesses to follow if their website or product is accessed by children. In the wake of work from the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, the EU and Australia, California has also recently passed the Age Appropriate Design Code Act, which will come into force in 2024.  Along with this legislation, the Safety Tech industry’s solutions play a vital role in protecting people in these spaces.    What is Yoti’s role in the industry?  We always want to collaborate with those helping to safeguard young people and push for age-appropriate experiences online. Our age verification solutions let users prove they’re the right age to access a service, without sharing any personal information. By knowing the correct age of a user, you can provide an age-appropriate experience for children and young people. Our solutions can enable effective parental consent, prevent children from accessing age-restricted content, and stop adults from entering platforms designed for children.    How is Yoti’s technology improving online safety? This year, Instagram introduced our facial age estimation technology to verify the age of users who attempt to change their date of birth from under 18 to 18 or over. This way, Instagram can make sure both teens and adults are in an age-appropriate experience. The technology was first introduced in the US and is now in the UK, Europe, Brazil and India.  Yubo, the social network app for teens, is also using our facial age estimation technology to verify the age of all of those on their platform. With over 60 million users, Yubo understands the immense challenge of creating a safe environment for its community. The new age verification system reduces the risks of child abuse and other acts by preventing users who might misrepresent their age from joining Yubo.  Age verification technology also strengthens age-gating on Yubo, which separates users into different communities based on age, limiting interaction between teens and adults.  We’re also immensely proud to be working with Childline and the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). NSPCC’s Childline partnered with the IWF to create 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, and Yoti gives people a private and safe way to prove their age, without needing to show ID documents or share personal data.    What’s next? The time for action is now. Businesses, regulators and parents all know that more needs to be done, so we’re proud to be playing our part and will continue to do so to ensure that the internet is a better place to be. 

4 min read