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Yoti upgrading age estimation biometrics to protect children from sexual violence online


online age verification

Yoti is working with experts and other stakeholders with the goal of developing its biometrics-powered age estimation technology to be able to estimate ages under 13. The technology already works for a younger demographic with its age estimation accurate to within approximately plus or minus 1.5 years for the 13 to 25-years age group.

The company said in a recent blog post that the initiative started last month when one of its Guardians Gavin Starks chaired its third roundtable, during which members reviewed the work on Yoti’s age estimation technology so far, and then set benchmarks for the development of the next stage of the biometric solution.

The roundtable, which assembled over 55 participants from seven countries, also looked at the campaign from their ICO Sandbox work which was launched on February 9, 2021 (Safer Internet Day), the blog post noted.

The two campaigns launched as part of the work include an educational and video campaign and the development of some educational material meant to help the young people understand how age estimation works, and the #Share2Protect campaign which is meant for parents and young people to support the development of the age estimation algorithm by sharing a photo to build a biometric data set with explicit consent.

This approach, according to Yoti, will support content platforms to meet regulatory requirements, such as the Age Appropriate Design Code, to protect children from unwanted intrusions, inappropriate content and minimize the risk of grooming.

The campaign is supported by many figures in the online child protection business. One of them, Lorin LaFave of Breck Foundation, appreciated the campaign and said keeping children safer online should be a priority for all. “…By parents safely sharing their children’s photos today for Yoti to create better age verification techniques, children will have a safer and healthier online future,” said LaFave.

Other partners Tink Palmer of the Marie Collins Foundation and online safety expert John Carr also fully endorsed the initiative.

Yoti has also been doing some work using its biometrics-backed age estimation solution to regulate social media use for children below 13 and to check child sexual exploitation online.

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