For the first time ever, German citizens will be able to use digital age estimation and age verification technology to access adult content online.
This comes as the German Association for Voluntary Self-Regulation of Digital Media service providers (FSM) has approved Yoti’s anonymous age estimation technology, Yoti Age Scan, and age verification via the Yoti Digital ID, to protect underage young people from accessing adult content sites.
Age verification is a legal requirement for many businesses to ensure they are not selling age-restricted goods or services to minors.
In face-to-face transactions, this often involves checking a passport or driving license.
Online, it is much harder to carry out robust age checks in a way that doesn’t compromise privacy. Common methods range from asking users to tick a box, enter their date of birth or make a payment with a credit card.
The need for robust, privacy-preserving age verification methods in the online space is no more clearly highlighted than in the recent calls to protect young people from accessing adult content sites.
As world leaders of identity verification technology, Yoti has developed anonymous age estimation technology that enables people to be age checked without an ID document, and age verification technology through the Yoti Digital ID.
Age estimation technology – how it works
Yoti’s age estimation technology allows anyone to be age checked by just looking into a camera on a device. Facial recognition technology creates a biometric template of the face, which it compares to thousands of previous photos it has studied through machine learning and gives an estimated age.
Yoti Age Scan always forgets a face
Yoti Age Scan is an anonymous age estimation tool that has no way of linking a face with a name or an identity. No information is requested before the session and all photos are instantly deleted. We have developed our technology as ethically as possible and communicate openly about how we use biometric technology. We have also shared our approach to age estimation in roundtable sessions with civil bodies and have undertaken an Algorithm Impact Assessment with IEEE Expert Dr Alison Gardner, Keele University.
The age threshold can be configured by a business in the same way that a “Challenge 30” rule may be operated in a supermarket. The technology has been proven to be much more accurate than humans, estimating 13-25 year olds within circa 2 years of accuracy. For more accuracy rates, head to our regularly-updated Yoti Age Scan whitepaper.
Age verification with Yoti Digital ID
Those who look under the age threshold will be asked to prove their age through a different method. For this, users can use the Yoti app, which enables citizens to create a verified Digital ID with a government-issued ID document and a biometric selfie video. The onboarding process takes up to five minutes and involves a series of checks that Yoti carries out with leading technology and expert security personnel to ensure the document is valid and belongs to the person uploading it.
Free, reusable digital ID
Once verified, users have a reusable digital ID that they can use to verify themselves with businesses and individuals. Thanks to a data minimisation approach, users can share just a verified age, such as “Over 18”, rather than their entire date of birth or ID document. This age token is shared with a site and is valid for up to two weeks. Both parties have an audit trail of exactly what data has been shared and the relying party will have access to anonymised metadata such as “18+ from driving license”.
Regulatory approval from the FSM for adult content
Citizens accessing adult content will be directed to a page where they can either scan a QR code with their Yoti app to privately share their age attribute or give access to the camera on their device which will anonymously estimate their age in seconds. The age threshold will be set by the German regulator and will be reviewed periodically. More information on our combined solution for secure age verification can be found at ProveMyAge.
We’ve had brilliant feedback from the FSM’s Martin Drechsler, who believes “the innovative mechanism that Yoti has developed opens up new paths for modern and effective protection of minors in Germany. The approach can also give positive impulses to content providers and open up new ways of cooperation – which we as FSM are happy to support”.
In the words of our CEO Robin Tombs, ““We have been extremely impressed by the rigorous, scientific review of the FSM and the expert team who have audited our age assurance offerings over the last months. We are delighted to be awarded the Seal of Approval from the FSM to offer our age estimation and age verification solutions for youth media protection in the German market place.”
Yoti is delighted to be working with the FSM (The German Association for Voluntary Self-Regulation of Digital Media service providers (FSM e.V.) dedicates itself primarily to youth protection and combatting …). Within the German system of regulated self-regulation introduced by the Youth Media Protection State Treaty (JMStV) in 2003, the FSM is a recognised self -regulatory body for the area of telemedia in Germany.
We’re keen to help other regulated markets where age assurance is needed. We look forward to serving adult content providers, wider organisations and consumers in the German market and supporting keeping young people safe and preserving their privacy. In years to come, age estimation AI and digital ID age verification will become globally the most popular, private and trusted way of checking age.”
If you’re interested in our age solutions, please get in touch.