UK age verification: digital ID initiatives announced and updated
The private sector is continuing to experiment with age verification, in some cases proven through biometrics and digital ID. Yoti’s proof of age product is being used for cinema entry and the age-verification trial in supermarkets, which is hoped to reduce anti-social behavior toward checkout staff asking for proof of age, is being extended. Meanwhile the private sector is asking for help in rolling schemes out nationally.
Industry asks for help establishing digital proof of age scheme
The Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) in the UK has called for the development of new technologies to aid people to prove their age using smartphones.
PASS currently supports several plastic proof of age cards, which are used across the country as valid forms of proof to buy alcohol and other age-restricted goods and services.
According to the Age Verification Providers Association (AVPA), the UK Government is looking at approving a digital version of these cards but needs to make sure security measures are sound before approving them.
“The industry realizes that unless we make digital proof of age convenient for consumers, which means they must be able to use any approved app anywhere, anytime, then people will not have the confidence to rely on their phone instead of their old ID,” explains AVPA Executive Director Iain Corby.
For context, PASS said it has already approved such a technical standard for digital proof of age and is waiting for the industry to find a way to ensure cards can be universally accepted.
“The PASS Scheme needs to move with the times,” says Chair of the PASS Board Baroness McIntosh of Pickering.
“Young people no longer need to take keys or cash when they go out, just their phones, and we want to move with the times and give them the choice not to carry physical ID as well.”
UK supermarkets extend digital ID trial for age verification
Aldi, Asda, the Co-op and Morrisons are among the supermarkets that have extended the trials of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered self-checkout cameras to check shoppers’ ages.
The digital ID verification technology, developed by Yoti, will be used by these supermarket chains until the end of June.
According to The Grocer, the Home Office confirmed it will provide a final evaluation of each project by the end of August.
“The pilot forms part of trials aimed at further improving or enhancing compliance with the licensing objective to protect children from harm by reducing the risk of underage sales,” explains James Beane, operations innovation and continuous improvement lead at the Co-op.
“Asking for ID can also be a flashpoint for frustration for some shoppers, and become a trigger for the unacceptable levels of abuse and antisocial behavior faced by frontline shopworkers,” Beane says, commenting on the trial extension.
“In addition, we envisage this could make shopping quicker, easier, and more convenient for customers, especially at busier times.”
UK cinemas to introduce ‘digital ID cards’ powered by Yoti’s biometrics
Technology from digital ID provider Yoti is also behind the decision of some cinemas in the UK to use age verification to prevent minors from watching movies containing sex and violent scenes.
The decision is the result of a partnership between Yoti and the UK Cinema Association and will provide young people aged from 13 upwards with a way to prove their age by downloading the Yoti (or the EasyID app from Yoti partner the Post Office) on their phone.
After that, they will be asked to take a photo of their ID and themselves, which will create a digital ID within the app that they’ll be able to show upon entry at cinemas.
“For many wanting to get into a ‘15’ or even ‘18’ certificate film proving their age – without a passport or driving license to hand – can be incredibly difficult and an understandable source of frustration when they are turned away from the cinema,” says UK Cinema Association CEO Phil Clapp.
“This new partnership offers a straightforward and modern way to alleviate many of those issues.”
The Digital ID card will show the verified photo of the individual and a verified ‘Age Over…” badge, as well as a hologram that moves when the phone is tilted, for anti-spoofing purposes.
“We’re thrilled to have many UK Cinema Association members join the 30,000 locations on the UK high street accepting our reusable digital ID apps,” says Yoti’s CEO Robin Tombs,
“Young people expect to be able to do everything with their phone and using it to prove their age will come naturally to them. It’s a win-win for both cinemas and young cinema-goers.”