Yoti extends Facial Age Estimation technology to children under 13

David Murphy

Digital identity firm Yoti has announced that its Facial Age Estimation technology has been extended to children under 13. The company said 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.

The privacy-preserving, 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. It said today’s announcement is a major step forward in helping businesses tailor their content and service for each audience. 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.

When using Yoti’s Facial Age Estimation, businesses can set an age threshold –  i.e. that someone is 18+ or under 13 to use a service or buy something. Customers simply look into their camera to prove their age with their face – 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 550m age checks for social networks, charities, retailers and others.

Yoti built the solution with a strong ethical framework and principles to protect consumers and businesses alike. Facial analysis estimates age without identifying or recognising any individual person. It can support billions of people who do or do not own an ID document and so promotes social inclusion. Yoti openly states the accuracy for skin tone, age and gender in its whitepaper. No personal information is stored. The solution is also compliant with PAS Online Age Checking 1296:2018, the national standard for Age Verification.

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, with its technical report stating: “Yoti Age Estimation has been certified ACCS 0:2020 Technical Requirements for Age Estimation Technologies as fit for deployment in a Challenge 25 policy area and is at least 98.89 per cent reliable.” 

“The threats that children face online sadly continue to grow so I’m proud to introduce Yoti’s Age Estimation for under 13s,” said Yoti CEO, Robin Tombs. “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 self-checkout firms NCR, Diebold and StrongPoint’s self-service technology. The technology can be integrated within less than one day.