Yoti extends Facial Age Estimation to under 13s

Yoti extends Facial Age Estimation to help social networks and online businesses protect children

Posted 27 October 2021 by Christine Horton

UK digital identity provider Yoti says children under 13 will be better protected with the extending of its Facial Age Estimation technology.

The firm says this will open new opportunities for social networks, gaming brands and other businesses to protect children online and comply with regulations from online safety regulators, such as the ICO with the Age Appropriate Design Code, Childrens’ Codes and online safety regulation.

Yoti says the AI powered facial analysis solution has been growing in accuracy since launching in 2018, estimating people’s age to within 1.5 years in the key age checking range of 13-25. The technology is now accurate to an average Mean Absolute Error of 1.3 years for the years between 6 and 12 and 1.5 years for the years between 13 and 18.

It adds that extending the technology “is a major step forward in helping businesses tailor their content and service for each audience.”

When using Yoti’s Facial Age Estimation, businesses can set an age threshold. For example, that someone is 18+ or under 13 to use a service or purchase an item. Customers simply look into their camera to prove their age with their face. Yoti says there’s no registration, no personal details stored, and the technology “always forgets a face”. All information is instantly deleted once the site receives an estimated age.

Trained to work fairly across all skin tones, genders and ages, Yoti Facial Age Estimation has already performed over 550 million age checks for social networks, charities and retailers. Yoti says it built the solution with an ethical framework and principles that includes:

  • Facial analysis estimates age without identifying or recognising any individual person
  • It can support people who do or do not own an ID document
  • Privacy preserving “to help people remain safe from surveillance”
  • No personal information is stored
  • Promotes data minimisation in line with GDPR 
  • Reduce customer friction 
  • Compliant with PAS Online Age Checking 1296:2018, the national standard for Age Verification

Threats children face

Yoti’s Age Estimation using Facial Analysis has previously received regulatory approval from the BBFC, KJM and FSM in Germany and was recognised by the UK’s Age Check Certification Scheme (ACCS) for Challenge 25 retail sales.

“The threats that children face online sadly continue to grow so I’m proud to introduce Yoti’s Age Estimation for under 13s,” said Robin Tombs, CEO of Yoti. “This technology will help businesses and regulators better protect young people with low friction while preserving privacy. We’ve now made it easy for platforms around the world to design services ‘age appropriately’. Yoti’s facial Age Estimation will help many different businesses comply with changing age regulation such as the new Children’s Codes.”

Yoti Facial Age Estimation can be used online via a smartphone, tablet or laptop. It can also be integrated into terminals to support sales on the high street. It is already used by social network Yubo, healthy eating app SMASH! and integrated into the flow of global self-checkout leaders NCR, Diebold and StrongPoint’s self-service technology. The technology can be integrated within less than one day, meaning there’s no costly or lengthy development needed.

For people that don’t want to use Yoti Age Estimation, the free Yoti says its digital ID app “gives people a safe, convenient way to prove their age and identity online and in person.” Individuals add their ID document and facial biometrics in a few minutes and have a verified, reusable digital ID that protects their data.