Yoti facial age estimation evaluated in the NIST Face Analysis Technology Evaluation program

profile picture Rachael Trotman 5 min read

Yoti proven to be the most accurate facial age estimation algorithm for those aged 13-16, a key age group for online age regulations and child safety 

30th May 2024, London, UK – Digital identity company Yoti has had its facial age estimation technology independently evaluated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a US agency who provide standards and certification for businesses. The standards and measurements set by NIST are used as a benchmark for technological innovations globally. NIST evaluated Yoti’s facial age estimation as part of their Face Analysis Technology Evaluation (FATE) program. 

NIST has published a report with the full results of the FATE testing program. NIST evaluated Yoti’s facial age estimation on over 11 million images of people, aged 0-99. The NIST results show that:

  • In the visa category, Yoti has the best MAE (Mean Absolute Error) of 2.0 for 6-17 year olds. This is the age group that regulators are most concerned with to ensure effective over 13 and over 18 age checks to help keep children safe online.
  • Yoti has world class performance for mugshot images; achieving a MAE of 2.7 for 18-24 year olds, making Yoti one of the most accurate algorithms. 
  • Yoti facial age estimation is an effective, fair and inclusive way to check age and age ranges, such as over 18, with an appropriate threshold.

Yoti is the leading provider of age assurance, working with brands across the world to provide age-appropriate experiences including Instagram, Facebook Dating, OnlyFans, Tik Tok, Yubo, Epic Games, Aylo, NCR, Diebold Nixdorf, Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Lockwood Publishing (Avakin Life) and Muzz.

Paco Garcia, CTO at Yoti commented, “NIST evaluation will provide scientific certainty for businesses and regulators that facial age estimation is an accurate, fair and privacy-preserving age assurance solution. This comes at a time when there is increasing legislation globally demanding that organisations effectively check the age of their users. The independent NIST evaluation demonstrates our commitment to developing world-class technology that improves online safety and creates age-appropriate experiences. We are looking forward to submitting an improved facial age estimation algorithm to NIST in the next few weeks for more independent testing.”

Julie Dawson, Chief Regulatory and Policy said, “We’re really pleased to see NIST publish their full report of facial age estimation algorithms. We trust that the evaluation and report from NIST will assist businesses, regulators and the public to refer to the maturity of this technology and its applicability to support online and in-person age assurance. We will continue to liaise with NIST in terms of learning from the benchmark’s findings; alongside our ongoing programme to improve our algorithm year by year, which we document and share transparently via our white papers.” 

Yoti submitted their May 2023 facial age estimation model to NIST in September 2023, the first time NIST started evaluating this technology since 2014. Consistent with NIST’s Face Recognition Vendor Test (FRVT), the test results of NIST FATE are likely to become the trusted standard globally for facial age estimation models. This signifies the growing recognition, suitability and maturity of facial age estimation technology for checking age across a number of settings. 

For more information regarding the NIST FATE results, or to learn more about Yoti’s facial age estimation, please contact press@yoti.com. Yoti’s white papers are available here.



Notes to editors

NIST used four data sources and images types in the testing: Mugshot, Border, Application and Visa. Yoti performed very well in the Mugshot and Visa categories. In the NIST results, Yoti’s MAE for mugshot for 18-24 year olds measured is 2.7 years, and in the visa category, Yoti has the best MAE of 2.0 for 6-17 year olds. Yoti’s December 2023 white paper MAE result for 6-70 was 2.7 years. Yoti has published accuracy rates for ages 6-70 since 2019.

The Face Recognition Vendor Test (FRVT) is renowned throughout the biometrics industry as the leading evaluation of facial recognition algorithms from developers around the world. 

NIST has updated the FRVT and split it into two separate tracks – FRTE (Face Recognition Technology Evaluation) and FATE (Face Analysis Technology Evaluation). FRTE deals with identity i.e., who is in an image, whereas FATE deals with processing to determine what is in an image. Separate testing is completed because facial recognition and facial analysis are different technologies – something NIST explains in their full report. 

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 assurance, document eSigning, access management, and authentication. Yoti provides a comprehensive set of age assurance solutions to meet business, market and regulatory requirements. Yoti is the leading global provider of age assurance, having performed over 650 million checks using its facial age estimation service across gaming, gambling, retail, dating, social media, live streaming, e-commerce and adult content services. 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.