In the realm of digital and mobile identity technologies, selfie-based identity verification has been perhaps the most salient success story of the last few years, as a growing number of organizations have embraced the use of smartphone camera-enabled facial recognition to compare an end user’s image to their official ID. But an adjacent innovation is now coming into the limelight: selfie-based age verification.
The digital identity startup Yoti has been a key pioneer in this area, adapting its face biometrics technology to estimate the age of an end user.
San Francisco-based Modak became the latest company to embrace this technology last week. Modak is a very new company: It launched its platform, which offers financial services to teenagers, in December of 2022. Since then, 25,000 teens have signed up, with Yoti’s age estimation technology helping to smooth out the process.
“Adapting Yoti’s tech has been a great enabler of our growth,” says Modak CEO Madhu Yalamarthi. The news came after Yoti’s announcement that it was providing age estimation technology for Epic Games’s SuperAwesome last month, and Yoti has also provided the technology to Meta for use on the Instagram social media platform.
This week delivered another high-profile example of the growing adoption of selfie-based age verification technology. Amazon has added the technology to its palm-scanning point-of-sale device, enabling organizations to use it to sell restricted goods like alcohol.
Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies baseball team, will be the first to do just that, allowing registered fans to buy booze with the wave of a hand. To enroll for the feature, a consumer must not only register their palm biometrics and payment information, but also upload a selfie photo along with images of their official ID to confirm their age and identity through the Amazon One website. Amazon says the age verification feature will come to additional establishments in the coming months.
Meanwhile, Veriff, an Estonian identity verification specialist that launched a selfie-based login system last year, announced its own entry into the age verification market this week with its launch of Veriff Age Estimation, a solution meant to help end users confirm their age without having to share other identity information, such as the name and address shown on a driver’s license.
There’s clearly an escalating amount of private sector activity in mobile-based age verification tech, and that could be further accelerated as more government bodies embrace this approach. The Australian government is now considering the use of “digital identifiers” for age verification in regulating access to online pornography, according to the country’s communications minister, Michelle Rowland; and Utah recently made headlines with its own age-gating law for online pornography that invites providers of such media content to embrace the use of digital ID technologies for compliance. These regulatory efforts are setting the stage for further adoption of digital ID, and may see more competitors like Veriff enter the market.
May 25, 2023 – by Alex Perala