Yoti blog

Stories and insights from the world of digital identity

Yoti’s CEO Robin Tombs on the BBC Breakfast sofa talking biometrics

Yoti’s CEO Robin Tombs on the BBC Breakfast sofa talking biometrics

We knew something had to be done to fix the world’s broken identity system, and that the solution must put the consumer firmly in control of something as precious as their identity. It made no sense to us that while the rest of our lives were going digital, the way we proved who we are was stubbornly clinging to paper and card. We decided to use the advancements in biometrics and smartphones to develop a modern digital identity solution that gives people a simpler, faster and secure way to prove who they are. Yoti has been built using the latest technology including facial recognition, with the intention of solving the challenge of proving our identity. We use facial recognition to match people’s biometrics to their ID documents, giving them a secure digital identity they can use online and in person. This helps reduce identity theft, fraud and can help build trust online. The individual always consents to using their biometrics and knows how they will be used. Individuals also consent whenever sharing their details, and always get a receipt of what information they have shared. We believe in putting individuals in control of their data. We do not snoop on individuals using Yoti and we can’t see the details being shared. We charge a business a small fee for receiving verified details from a user. We have a simple, principled, transparent business model and an increasingly popular app with 1.1m installs and climbing. We have built Yoti in a way individuals told us they wanted digital identity to work. There are 6.3 billion smartphone users and we believe many of them will choose to create a digital identity to have an easier and safer way of proving who they are, online and in person.

2 min read
Yoti and CitizenCard launch new digital ID card

Yoti and CitizenCard launch new digital ID card

Everyone needs a way to prove their identity. Whether it’s to collect a parcel from the post office, buy an age restricted item, open a bank account or apply for a job. For many young people, they’re too young to have a driving licence and their parents don’t want them to carry around a £49 passport simply to prove their age to see a film, buy a game or purchase a child’s train ticket. With almost 20% of people losing an ID document at least once a year, young people need a safer and more affordable way to prove their age and identity. Introducing the Yoti CitizenCard We’ve teamed up with CitizenCard to offer young people a £9 digital ID. Unlike other ID solutions, the Yoti CitizenCard allows young people to prove their age online and in person. They’ll be able to use the Yoti CitizenCard to: Prove their age and identity when travelling on public transport, going to cinemas, on nights out, and when buying games and age restricted goods like energy drinks and alcohol. Prove their age and identity to businesses online. Log in to websites without having to remember passwords. Verify the identities of people they meet online for safer encounters. They can also share specific attributes (i.e. just their name or age) without disclosing their full identity with a paper ID document; helping to protect from the ever-growing risk of identity fraud. Yoti CitizenCards display the Home Office-endorsed PASS (Proof of Age Standards Scheme) hologram and UV mark. The logos of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the Security Industry Authority (SIA) also feature. The card is accepted by retail and night economy businesses. The Yoti SmartChip in the card will, in future, allow people to simply tap on a card reader to prove their identity. It could also enable payments, where parents top up the card with their child’s pocket money to bring safer spending than carrying cash – or be used for storing tickets and travel passes. Our solution is designed to give parents peace of mind, knowing that their child has a recognised national ID that’s safer to carry than passport, which if lost or stolen contains a large volume of sensitive personal data. We believe that everyone should be able to prove who they are when they choose to – but ID should be private, secure, voluntary and controlled by the individual, not by organisations. Private – prove ‘what’ you are without necessarily revealing who you are Secure – NO big database of profiles that reveals how and where people use it Voluntary – ID should empower people not be a means of tracking people This is just the start of a great partnership with CitizenCard. We’re excited to give families around the UK a simple and secure way to prove their identity, online and in person.

3 min read
Yoti selected as the official identity provider for the Government of Jersey

Yoti selected as the official identity provider for the Government of Jersey

Today marks a landmark day for Yoti. We have been selected as the identity provider for the Government of Jersey. Securing our first government contract is a huge milestone in our journey and something all of the team are incredibly proud of. Jersey’s search for an ID solution In August 2017, Jersey’s Government issued a tender which called for a digital ID solution. This was part of the eGov initiative to get more services online, such as filing a tax return, registering to vote and accessing the citizen portal. The Government wants to offer a greater range of online services but needs to be certain that the users are who they say they are. What does this mean for Jersey citizens? Yoti will give islanders a simple, fast and secure way to prove their identity, online and in person. They’ll be able to use Yoti to: Prove who they are when dealing with the States of Jersey online and in person, making it more convenient when using digital services and reducing the risk of identity theft and fraud Log into websites more securely without having to remember usernames and passwords – helping to protect online accounts and personal information Leave valuable ID documents safe at home and prove their age with their phone Prove their identity to businesses without showing and photocopying paper documents Jersey’s visionary choice to use a digital identity system will help its government bodies, businesses and citizens to get things done in a simple and secure way, with less risk of fraud – an issue which costs the global society billions every year. By giving individuals a free digital identity which they can create in minutes, businesses across a range of sectors can begin to leverage the benefits of digital identity into their own products and services, including finance, voting, healthcare, physical asset management, and many more. Assistant Minister, Deputy Scott Wickenden, said: “One of the reasons we have chosen Yoti is that its verification system can be used by many other organisations. People are more likely to sign up with a service that they can use for a number of different purposes, and because Yoti can verify identity, and therefore age, this means that a wide range of industries – from financial services to hospitality – can use it to verify the identities of their customers.” The States of Jersey’s Chief Executive, Charlie Parker, said: “This important piece of technology is fundamental to the restructuring of our public services and the provision of integrated, online services to islanders. We have established one set of standards for all our online services and now we have a digital ID system that allows islanders to interact with government on a confidential, secure basis. This is a vital step in modernising the States of Jersey, and in developing an effective, efficient and responsive public sector, with outstanding services at its core.” This is just the start of a great partnership with Jersey. We hope that their government, businesses and citizens will benefit from a secure digital identity system for many years to come. Time to raise a glass and celebrate!?

3 min read
Yoti partners with the Improvement Service to help deliver digital services to Scottish citizens

Yoti partners with the Improvement Service to help deliver digital services to Scottish citizens

Today marks a landmark day for Yoti. We’ve been selected by the Improvement Service in Scotland to help transform local and regional services. We’ll give Scottish residents an easier and safer way of proving their age and entitlement to access a wide range of services, rewards and discounts. What does this mean for Scottish citizens? They will be able to leave valuable ID documents like their passport, driving licence, and other existing forms of identity safe at home, and prove who they are using Yoti. Scottish residents will, in the future, be able to use Yoti to: Prove who they are to businesses without showing or photocopying paper documents Prove their age on nights out and when buying age-restricted goods Prove their entitlement to use local services, including leisure and sports facilities Show their age on transport services to qualify for travel concessions Confirm the identity of people they meet online Log in to websites more securely without passwords Securely access online public services by applying for a myaccount Verified digital identities will help transform local and regional services as businesses and government bodies have confidence individuals are who they say they are; creating more trust and transparency in the details shared. Sarah Gadsden, the Improvement Service’s interim CEO said, “We anticipate smartphone ownership will continue to grow and as technology evolves and mobile usage increases, we’re committed to maximise the use of secure mobile and digital technology to deliver information and services to citizens. Yoti will help us and our partners in the drive to transform essential public services and improve outcomes, meet our own and wider aspirations to deliver more information online, and give individuals a safer and more convenient way to prove their age and entitlement to access services. We selected Yoti due to their innovative, user-centric, secure and privacy-by-design approach.” This is just the start of a great partnership in Scotland. We hope businesses and individuals will benefit from digital services for many years to come.

2 min read
Yoti and LedgerState showcase how next generation blockchain technology can transform the way governments handle personal data

Yoti and LedgerState showcase how next generation blockchain technology can transform the way governments handle personal data

Yoti and LedgerState today showcased at the World Economic Forum how governments and other organisations can capitalise on evolutions in blockchain technology to store personal data of their citizens and customers. Yoti, the digital identity platform, lets people create verified digital identities through their free smartphone app. The app uses facial recognition technology and a security team to match facial biometrics to approved photo IDs. These digital identities can then be written to a private ledger using an evolution of blockchain technology called Hashgraph. Hashgraph uses an asynchronous process, meaning it is not reliant on the proof of work systems required by a synchronous solution like public blockchain solutions. This speeds up the process and makes it more suitable for identity and payment platforms. The proof of concept showed how an individual can verify themselves to a government database and then have additional attributes attached to their identity by an approved official. This could be sensitive information like a tax code or a health insurance number. Those details are then written to a secure, private distributed ledger that can only be accessed by approved officials. This gives governments (and indeed other organisations) the ability to take advantage of the benefits of blockchain technology and its immutable records without having to compromise speed, cost effectiveness and efficiency. Robin Tombs, founder and CEO of Yoti said: ‘Yoti can work well with first and second generational public blockchain technologies like Bitcoin and Ethereum for some elements of our identity platform, like KYC. However, third generation technologies like the Hashgraph can handle the requirements of a global identity platform authenticating millions of users each day at the required low transactional costs. Most consumers will currently tolerate a KYC Verification completing in a minute or two, but not for log in or payment which need to be almost instantaneous. Permission-based networks leveraging new asynchronous protocol technology like LedgerState’s use of Hashgraph, let Yoti take advantage of the many benefits of a distributed ledger solution whilst not compromising on the effectiveness of our identity platform.’ Nino Vang Vojvodic and Damir Yandrich, founders of LedgerState said: ‘Now there are finally tools and systems available for governments to grant a higher level of Sovereignty to their citizens. Early implementers will gain significant advantage when it comes to attracting the best talent and people to their citizenship or residency.’

2 min read
Tickets for Good and creative partnerships

Tickets for Good and creative partnerships

In the non-profit partnerships team at Yoti, we’re always excited when we are able to see through a really socially impactful use case of our identity checking platform. Occasionally, however, the stars align and through one great partnership, we are able to creatively mobilise our resources to go that bit further.   Social impact through your social life This happened recently with Steve Rimmer, Co-Founder of the Tickets for Good platform and related non-profit initiatives including the Tickets for Good Foundation and the TicketBank. We first met Steve when he applied for our non-profit hack event in September. He had all the ingredients for a good project – deep understanding of users, a clear problem statement, and – critically – the dedication and enthusiasm to be a great product owner. We jumped at inviting him to participate, and were thrilled when his idea to develop TicketBank, a platform to facilitate the donation of event tickets to charity partners, won a developer team to work on the project for the next few weeks. Business for good We quickly discovered that in addition to our shared drive to support non-profit work, we were also keen advocates of the BCorps movement of companies committed to using business as a force for good – we’ve been an accredited member since 2015, and Steve is currently going through the process for TicketsforGood. We therefore had the pleasure of collaborating further on a BCorps project over the next few months. However, our partnership with Steve didn’t end there. Joint mission Steve ‘got’ Yoti – not just the technology, but also our principles. So he started to explore its use case for other projects he’s working on, and has already integrated Yoti to be used to register and login on the TicketsforGood platform. He could also see utility for MyVenue for Clubs application, which enables people to use their Yoti app on their phone to prove their age at bars and clubs. So he kindly made introductions to a number of Sheffield venues. On our side, we knew a number of charities we thought could benefit from the TicketBank. We introduced Steve to vInspired – and they are planning to partner on this project this year. We’ve also offered him the use of our events space should he ever need it. It’s been great working with Steve, thinking creatively about how we can help and learn from each other. This is very much the BCorps spirit and something we’d like to apply to our partnerships more generally. If you’re a non-profit or BCorps and would like to talk about how we can work together, please get in touch!

3 min read

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