Yoti is calling for a more nuanced discussion of digital age verification policies in the United Kingdom. The London-based identity specialist credited several members of the House of Lords for moving the conversation forward during a recent session, but argues that the House’s legislative proposals could be refined to better meet the needs of British citizens.
In that regard, Yoti made a distinction between manual age verification and self-service alternatives. The latter include age estimation technology that can be built into self-checkout terminals or an online storefront that can enable the sale of age-restricted goods even when no employee is present to monitor the transaction.
The newly proposed PASS standard, on the other hand, primarily focuses on manual checks. It would allow customers to prove their age with a digital ID on their phone rather than a physical document, but does not contain any provisions for self-service and online sales.
With that in mind, Yoti points out that a digital ID is little better than an ID card when it comes to a manual check, since both need to be presented to a clerk. An age scan, on the other hand, can be completed in a matter of seconds, and reduces the administrative burden on store staff. It also allows merchants to provide better service to the 24 percent of British adults who do not have a physical identity document.
According to Yoti, age scan technology is accurate to within two years (compared to eight years for the human eye), and is less likely to be biased when making an assessment. The company noted that the PAS 1296 standard that was passed in 2018 does cover online and self checkout situations, and stressed that a comprehensive British identity policy needs to cover both manual and self-service interactions.