The internet is a fantastic source of creativity for young people, but they must be able to explore it safely. It is currently too easy for children to stumble across and watch age-restricted content. NSPCC research showed that nearly half (46%) of children who’ve seen pornography first saw it by accident and nearly two thirds (65%) of 15-16-year-olds have also seen it.
We’ve been working hard to build ways people can prove their age by sharing the least amount of data possible. This began with our digital ID app, which lets people share the fact they’re over 18 and nothing else – not even their name. We then built a facial age estimation algorithm that lets people anonymously prove their age with just a selfie.
Some of you may remember these methods as part of ProveMyAge, a solution we built in response to the UK 2017 Digital Economy Act, which sought to introduce world-leading measures to prevent children from accessing pornographic content online. The legislation was sadly dropped but we continued to work hard to develop an easy way for businesses to add age assurance to their websites and products.
As we see the proposed Online Harms Bill advance the call for online safety regulations, we’re excited to announce we’ve developed an age assurance portal that offers people six privacy-preserving ways to prove their age online. Each method and it’s age threshold can be configured to adapt to different regulatory requirements, allowing a business to deliver the right balance of age assurance, speed and accessibility on their site.
What are the age assurance methods?
Facial age estimation
For your users, it’s as easy as looking into the camera on their device. Our algorithm then instantly estimates their age based on their face. This is completely anonymous. There’s no way to link a name to a face, and the image is deleted as soon as the age is given. You can read more about this technology here.
People can use the free Yoti app to share the fact that they’re over 18. This is the only piece of information shared – there’s no need to share a date of birth. The app is free to download and empowers anyone with the tools to create a digital ID, using an ID document and a selfie. Yoti verifies each app holder with leading verification tools, so when they come to share their details with a business, it takes just seconds.
This method allows people to scan their ID document and take a selfie using their laptop or phone. Our seamless identity verification technology quickly matches the user to their document to verify their age securely. By using NFC and OCR technology to extract data, a user’s identity can be verified in under a minute.
Credit card check
We can verify your customer is over 18 by using their credit card details.
Mobile provider check
We can also verify whether your customer is over 18 by using their mobile provider details.
By checking a users’ name, date of birth and address against a database, we’re able to verify their age to make sure they’re old enough to use a service.
Combatting online harms with privacy-preserving age assurance tools
Age assurance will be a key step in helping to protect children online. To hear more about how you can comply with upcoming age verification legislation or deliver age-appropriate services inline with the Age Appropriate Design Code, please get in touch.