Stories and insights from the world of digital identity
4th August 2022 – Today, uCheck announces that all clients will now be able to complete DBS checks digitally, instead of having to manually check physical ID documents, streamlining and speeding up the process. Earlier this year, uCheck partnered with Yoti and the Post Office, the UK’s first certified Identity Services Provider (IDSP), who will provide the digital DBS checks. uCheck clients will be able to quickly and easily ensure that candidates have sufficient ID in line with DBS ID checking requirements. This can be completed online, via a digital ID app (such as Post Office EasyID or Yoti) or in person at a Post Office branch. Under new legislation, which came into effect on 6 April 2022, DBS checks can now be completed using an IDSP. British and Irish citizens who hold valid or expired passports will be eligible. The guidelines are based on the new UK Digital Identity and Attributes Trust Framework, which aims to facilitate secure and trustworthy solutions around digital identity in the UK, improving the user experience and boosting economic growth. Enabling DBS checks – including Basic, Standard and Enhanced – to be carried out digitally supports long-term post-pandemic working practices, such as remote or hybrid working, accelerates onboarding processes, reduces recruitment times, and improves the security and reliability of checks. George Griffiths, Managing Director at uCheck said, “uCheck is delighted to have released Digital Identity solutions to our customers. This new approach will offer employers and applicants a faster and more secure method of verifying identity documents. This release is a firm step in the right direction to further streamlining background screening and will significantly improve efficiencies throughout the hiring process.” Elinor Hull, Identity Services Director at Post Office said, “We’re delighted to be working with uCheck to improve, streamline and strengthen the way DBS checks are carried out. Today’s announcement is really exciting, with all uCheck clients, and prospective clients, now able to submit DBS checks in minutes. These digital checks offer benefits to both employers and candidates; they are quicker, more reliable and more convenient. They also support remote working practices and remove geographical barriers to employment as individuals can complete these important DBS checks from home.” Notes to editors New government guidance on digital identity verification On 17th January 2022, the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) published updated guidance paving the way for Digital Identity Checks to be used as part of Basic, Standard and Enhanced DBS Checks. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has also released an update around Digital Identity Checks to verify Right to Work and other certifications. About uCheck uCheck is the top DBS umbrella body in the UK and a leading provider of employment vetting and screening solutions – it currently processes over 850,000 checks annually for over 20,000 organisations. uCheck is the largest DBS provider in the UK along with DBS Enhanced, Standard and Basic Checks and the Right to Work, ID and Adverse Credit Checks. About Yoti and Post Office Yoti is a digital identity company that allows organisations to verify identities and trusted credentials online and in person. Yoti’s products span identity verification, age verification, document eSigning, access management, and authentication. In the UK, Yoti is partnered with Post Office to accelerate digital identity adoption with a national footprint spanning 11,500 Post Office branches, online and more. Over 11 million people have downloaded the free Yoti app globally. Yoti 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. Media Contacts For press enquiries, please contact: Yoti – firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
London, UK, 25th July 2022 – Investment platform Further has today announced a new partnership with digital identity provider Yoti, who will streamline the customer onboarding process, making it faster and easier for people to invest in their chosen funds. Under Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules, Further is required to provide appropriate identity evidence for investors when transactions take place. This is to prove that all investors seeking to invest in a fund via Further are who they say they are. By using Yoti and their partner Post Office for digital identity verification, Further will strengthen their KYC and AML processes, offer frictionless onboarding and faster processing times. Yoti’s digital identity checks take less than five minutes to complete; speeding up the identification process. Further, a London-based startup, connects retail investors with high-quality venture capital funds, at scale and with minimum investment levels never seen before in the market. This enables many new retail investors to invest in venture funds, from as little as £1,000. Further’s platform offers investors a selection of venture capital fund investment opportunities, from a variety of well-known UK tax-advantaged and international venture capital fund managers. Rob Tominey, Further CEO said, “We’re thrilled to be working with Yoti on identity verification and AML, which has been seamlessly integrated into Further’s onboarding process. To deliver a high quality, premium, trustworthy experience for today’s investors, it was important that we found a tool with a user experience that matched our own and was straightforward to use across devices – and Yoti have delivered on this. We look forward to growing Further alongside the team at Yoti.” John Abbott, Chief Commercial Officer at Yoti, said, “We’re really pleased to be working with Further to power the next generation of financial products. Our identity verification technology will strengthen and streamline their customer onboarding, and create a frictionless and secure experience. There’s a growing desire for better experiences from consumers and our technology can fast track processes that historically have taken up significant time and effort. Individuals can pass identity verification checks quickly and focus on what’s important – their investment decisions.” Notes to editors About Further Over the past decade, venture capital funds have achieved index-beating returns by backing the startups changing the world around us. Further connects more investors with high-quality venture capital funds, enabling access from £1,000. Further’s software manages the onboarding, administration and lifetime reporting of investors for funds, removing the historic administrative burden associated with investor management. About Yoti Yoti is a digital identity technology company that allows organisations to verify identities and trusted credentials online and in person. Yoti’s products span identity verification, age verification, document eSigning, access management, and authentication. Yoti’s digital ID app is accepted as proof of identity in over 30,000 UK High street locations including cinemas, Post Offices and convenience stores. In 2021 Yoti partnered with the Post Office to deliver the UK’s most comprehensive identity service. The Post Office EasyID app is interoperable with the Yoti digital ID app. Over 11 million people have downloaded the free Yoti app globally (3 million in the UK). Yoti is available in English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Polish, Russian and Ukrainian. 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. Media Contacts For press enquiries, please contact: Yoti – email@example.com
We’re really proud of our age estimation technology, but it’s important to us that we tackle some common misconceptions. So we’ve answered some of the most important questions we get asked about age estimation. What is age estimation? Our facial age estimation technology 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 ID document. This privacy-friendly approach doesn’t require any personal details or ID documents, and all images are instantly deleted once someone receives their estimated age – nothing is ever viewed by a human. It can’t link a name to a face or identify anyone. This is the difference between facial analysis and facial recognition. How does it estimate age? The technology has been trained to estimate age by looking at facial features in an image. 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’. Is it facial recognition? No. The technology uses facial analysis to estimate a person’s age without identifying or recognising any individual. When estimating age, it doesn’t cross-check people against a big database of faces, it simply estimates the age of the image presented to it. The technology never knows or learns the name or identity of a person. This has been acknowledged by multiple regulators and has prompted the ICO to update their definition of biometrics and agree that “Yoti’s age estimation tool will not result in the processing of special category data”. Where did the data come from to train age estimation? Most of it comes from Yoti app users. We use the photo from an ID document and the date and year of birth. We ask them to allow us to use the data to train our technology during the account creation process. Those users can withdraw their approval to use their data for training purposes at any time through the Yoti app. All our data for under 13 year olds has been collected specifically for the purposes of training the age estimation model and the parents or guardians have freely given consent during a specific data collection exercise. We have ensured we have obtained a balance of gender identities, images and different skin tones to minimise bias in the algorithm – we have not used any images scraped from the internet. Is the technology more accurate than humans at estimating age? It can be difficult for humans to be sure whether someone is over 18 just by looking at them. When guessing the age of another person, we tend to underestimate the age of older people, and overestimate the age of younger people. Our ability to estimate accurately tends to decrease as we ourselves get older. That’s why policies such as ‘Challenge 25’ exist, which ask customers to prove their age if they appear to be under 25. This builds in a safety buffer of 7 years given the legal age for buying alcohol in the UK is 18. Age estimation can be configured to work with legal age thresholds in a similar way. A retailer using age estimation at self-checkouts can build in a buffer of 7 years, meaning anyone estimated to be under the age of 25 will not pass and will need to prove their age another way. If we look at the accuracy of the technology when estimating the age of an 18 year old, there is a mean absolute error (MAE) of 1.22. This means an 18 year old could be estimated to be 17 or 19 years – too high or too low. This is why businesses using age estimation can use a threshold, like Challenge 25, to have greater confidence that someone under the age of 18 would not be able to buy an age restricted item. Another way to measure the accuracy of age estimation is using a True Positive Rate (TPR). This is the probability that an actual positive will test positive, meaning an 18 year old is correctly estimated to be under 23. The TPR for 13-17 year olds correctly estimated as under 23 is 99.65%. This gives regulators a very high level of confidence that nobody underage will be able to access age-restricted content, and the technology can be used in a variety of settings to strengthen age checks – retailers selling age restricted items, adult websites or content providers, and gambling terminals. We continually measure the accuracy of our technology and improve it. Is it biased against skin tones? At Yoti, we take our ethical responsibilities as a company developing new technology very seriously. The data (face image and month and year of birth only) used to train the algorithm is obtained by Yoti in accordance with the UK GDPR during the onboarding process for the Yoti app or using consented data collection exercises. We train our AI with images from a wide demographic of society and then test how well it estimates people’s age for different genders and skin tones. This allows us to see where it needs to improve so we can train the model in those areas. We also invest heavily to minimise bias and make sure it works well for everyone. You can see in our white paper that there’s minimal bias across gender and skin tone for 6-12 year olds, with more bias for older adults. While this is something we’re improving, it’s more important that the model is accurate for 18-25 year olds. Is age estimation secure? We created age estimation to give everybody a secure, private way of proving their age. Security, therefore, isn’t just a priority, it’s fundamental to everything we do. Privacy is a key consideration of age estimation – there’s no login required or the need for an account with Yoti. People simply present their face to a webcam or camera on a device, and as soon as their age has been estimated from that image, the captured image is deleted. We have been independently audited both by the ICO and KPMG on this process of deleting images. The ICO’s report is public and KPMG’s is available on request. We also commission regular external audits of our business and have been certified to meet some of the world’s most stringent security standards, such as ISO27001 and SOC2 Type II. Is my privacy protected? 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 is designed to minimise the data shared, so instead of requesting an ID document, it just needs an image. This image is never seen by a human and is deleted as soon as the age has been estimated. We also designed it so that no individual can be identified by the model. For this reason, the ICO has stated that it can be distinguished from facial recognition technology, as it’s not being used for the purpose of uniquely identifying individuals. Instead, it’s used to categorise people by age. They concluded that our age estimation tool will not result in the processing of special category data. How is age estimation currently being used? Instagram is using the technology to verify the age of users in the US that change their date of birth from under 18 to 18 or over to make sure both teens and adults are in an age-appropriate experience for them. Social network Yubo uses age estimation to check the age of users, ensuring 13-14 years olds are not engaging with adults. UK supermarkets have trialled age estimation at self-checkouts to give shoppers an easy and quick way to prove their age, without needing to show an ID document or wait for assistance. During the trial, shoppers purchasing alcohol could simply look at a camera on the self-checkout to verify their age before completing their purchase. If the system detected a customer looked younger than 25, they could prove their age through the free Yoti app instead. For those who did not wish to use this technology, they still had the option of showing their ID document to a member of supermarket staff. Any other questions? We hope that this answers some of your questions about age estimation. If you still have any questions or would like to learn more about our technology, feel free to get in touch.
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.
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