As a parent of teenagers, I’m delighted to see the Digital Economy Act take effect this year. The internet is a fantastic source of creativity and learning for young people, but they must be able to explore it safely.
It is too easy for children to stumble across, access and view age restricted content. NSPCC research shows that nearly half of children admit to viewing pornography by the age of 16. It is clear that we need a solution to help keep our children safe online.
That’s why we’ve been working with the NSPCC since early 2017. We’ve been creating secure solutions that make the internet safer for children, and offering free anonymous age verification to consumers accessing adult websites is an example of our work.
Secure, anonymous age verification
Using Yoti, individuals can share specific identity attributes rather than disclosing their full identity. For example, they could use Yoti to access a nightclub by just showing their name, age and photo. And in our online content scenario, individuals can prove their age by sharing nothing but their 18+ attribute. They don’t even need to share their date of birth to prove their age.
We built Yoti with data minimisation principles at its core. By allowing individuals to share specific identity details, we can limit the risk of personal identity exposure and protect their privacy in a digital world. Proving you are 18+ to access an adult website, or to purchase age restricted items by just sharing your 18+ attribute, saves you from sharing any other personal details. Adult website owners can be confident that their users are 18 years or over, and importantly, this is the only data they store; complying with age verification regulations whilst minimising the data they ask for from users.
Our solution is free to adult websites of all sizes compliant with BBFC age verification regulations – ensuring cost is not a barrier to protecting children from accessing content they shouldn’t.
Yoti can be integrated quickly. It can be done in less than 15 minutes with WordPress, Drupal or Joomla plugins, and within 2-3 hours with one of seven SDKs, allowing businesses to verify the age of their customers in seconds. Neither Yoti nor the adult website accepting Yoti will have access to any information about the individuals – except that they are over 18.
What’s more, setting up a Yoti is easy for individuals too. Typically, it takes no longer than five minutes. You take a selfie, complete a quick video test to prove you’re a real person and scan your passport or driving licence using your phone. Yoti verifies the selfie and ensures it matches the photo ID, verifying the integrity of the ID document and creating a secure digital identity.
Protecting people’s data
Our approach to privacy sees each individual piece of personal information separated, encrypted and stored securely. The same encryption is applied when data is being shared between individuals and businesses. This means that, in the unlikely case that our database was ever breached, a hacker would see a random jumble of non-relational data: just first names, last names, dates of birth and genders. Nothing that could help them build a full profile of someone. The database is designed in such a way that even we at Yoti cannot see and access an individual’s data after they have registered, which means we will never mine or sell user data, unlike other data-centric businesses.
Age verification online will be a key step in helping to protect our children from stumbling across age-restricted content.
If you’d like to know more about our solution or want to know more about reporting explicit images as an under 18 year old, please get in touch.
Julie Dawson, Director of Regulatory & Policy