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Yoti, 1account bring selfie biometrics to more UK digital ID checks

Yoti, 1account bring selfie biometrics to more UK digital ID checks

The UK has witnessed substantial steps forward in the adoption of digital ID based on selfie biometrics to support government mandates across different sectors. London-based Yoti has joined forces with background check company First Advantage and 1account has partnered with the Home Office on digital ID for age-restricted access control. Also, the Home Office announced it is backing the Digital ID for Right to Work, Rent & DBS legislation, and The Telegraph has published an analysis from Big Brother Watch on the Government’s new online safety laws regarding porn sites.

Yoti partners with First Advantage

The collaboration will focus on a joint go-to-market strategy that will enable the promotion of digital identity services according to the upcoming April 2022 updates to UK Right to Work & UK DBS Checks (more on that below).

Following the beginning of the partnership, Yoti will be able to offer its selfie biometrics and digital identity services directly through the First Advantage technology platform.

“Yoti is delighted to join forces with First Advantage and help make it simpler and safer for organizations and their employees to prove their identity,” comments Yoti’s CEO Robin Tombs.

“It doesn’t make sense that people still have to show physical ID documents to prove who they are. Our secure digital identity platform helps businesses streamline outdated ID processes to cut admin time and cost.”

Yoti has been particularly active since the beginning of 2022, recently announcing a series of new contributions to the UK’s digital ID ecosystem.

Home Office to back digital ID for Right to Work, Rent & DBS

The move was highlighted by trade association techUK in an editorial blog post by Iain McCallum, programme manager of Digital Identity at the organization.

In the post, McCallum explains how the development will support the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and certified Digital ID Providers participating to deploy ‘real-world’ applications of the UK Digital Identity & Attributes Trust Framework.

DCMS also recently published a guidance document for digital ID providers explaining how they can become certified and participate in the new scheme.

“Whilst this announcement is a positive step forward, there are still significant challenges to overcome to ensure that the Digital ID market in the UK continues to flourish, delivering security and ease of use for Citizen-Users as well as minimal business impact to relying parties, Digital ID providers and other key stakeholders,” writes McCallum.

“techUK’s work on Digital ID continues into 2022 and will include a White Paper and our Digital ID External Events Series.”

1account begins two separate digital ID trials

Age verification company 1account has unveiled two different trial programs in the UK.

The first, spotted by i-News, will take place in a nightclub in Camberley, Surrey, between February 16 and June 30, 2022, with the backing of the Government.

The pilot will enable partygoers to upload an image of an existing driving license, passport, or PASS card via the 1account app, together with a photo of their face.

The age and document verification technology will match the biometrics of the two photos, and in case of a positive match will create a digital ID document that will be accepted to grant entry at the Surrey club.

The same technology will be also implemented in a new vape vending machine line (built by London-based vending manufacturer Aeguana) according to The Grocer.

The 12-month trial started with an installation in the Leicester branch of specialist vape retailer Ecigwizard, with more deployments to follow in the next few months.

The trial was reportedly approved by Bucks & Surrey Trading Standards and covers high street retail, pubs, and NHS locations.

1account is also one of the companies participating in the Home Office sandbox tests.

Big Brother Watch Director warns against age verification

Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch, has written a warning for The Telegraph against the indiscriminate enforcement of the recently-proposed legislation that would require users to undergo an age verification check to access online porn.

“It is not the first time the policy of mirroring age restrictions for adult content offline in the online world has been proposed,” says Carlo.

“The problem is, it’s incredibly hard to enforce online, creates serious privacy and fraud risks, and is unlikely to achieve the goal of protecting children.”

Additionally, Carlo believes the government’s announcement hid another “alarming proposal,” namely that companies could “confirm [visitors’] age against government data.”

According to the privacy advocate, this would be a gentle way of suggesting that adult websites require visitors to use government-backed digital IDs.

“I don’t know what’s worse – private companies harvesting people’s porn-watching habits, or the government doing it. But what I do know is that we all ought to be worried about this Government’s obsession with digital ID.”

Carlo also clarifies that she has no objections against digital ID applications in principle, as long as possession remains a choice and not a requirement.

“But an internet passport would be the most intrusive identity scheme of all. And this notion of confirming identity against government data is one likely to stick, and sprawl into multiple areas of our increasingly identity-checked lives.”

The Big Brother Watch director ends her article by saying that while children’s access to adult content should be limited, creating an “ID-based, surveillance-controlled internet” is not the solution.

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