The Yoti program allows young people to check their age without transmitting other personal information and is tested by the Home Office at supermarket checkouts.
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Cinemas are poised to introduce a digital ID app to prevent children from gaining access to adult movies containing sex and violence.
The app would confirm the age of young people to box office staff, and will be accepted starting Monday at UK Cinema Association stores.
The program was designed by digital ID provider Yoti and will base the age of the user on a previously uploaded document, such as a passport.
To date, around 3,000,000 people in the UK have downloaded the Yoti app, which is most popular with 16- to 25-year-olds.
The technology is part of a broader movement toward digital identifiers related to age-restricted products and will help cinemas meet their legal requirements to prevent children from accessing movies that contain inappropriate content.
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Yoti’s AI face-to-face photo tests, which can assess age, are being tested by the Home Office, as are its programs at supermarket checkouts to prevent children from buying alcohol.
Ministers could consider changing the law to allow digital age controls for alcohol sales if those attempts prove successful. Currently a physical ID is required.
The digital ID application can also be used to access a range of Calpol products up to energy drinks in 30,000 convenience stores and has been approved by the Government to allow young people to withdraw from childcare funds after they turn 18 years old.
While critics have expressed concern that such technology could lead to a clandestine introduction of national digital ID cards, supporters of the scheme say it will provide children with an easier way to prove their age without revealing any other personal information.
Yoti is also being used by social media platform Yubo as part of a range of measures to prevent under-13s from accessing their website.
The digital ID is created by the individual uploading a document, such as a passport, and then taking a live image to confirm their identity. A government database that is not accessible from Yoti stores information that can be deleted at any time by the user.
The digital ID application displays a verified photo and declares whether the user is over 12, 15 or 18.
Phil Clapp, CEO of the UK Cinema Association said in The Telegraph : “For many who want to enter a 15- or even 18-year-old film, proving their age – without a passport or driver’s license on hand – can be an incredibly difficult and understandable source of frustration if they are pushed out of the cinema.
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“This new partnership offers a simple and modern way to reduce the likelihood of this happening. Of the 165 million to 170 million entries a year UK cinemas have seen pre-pandemic, around 30 per cent fall within the 15 to 24-year bracket, and about 20 percent within the nine to 14-year-old age group.
“Since cinemas reopened last May, those proportions are likely to be even higher.”
John Abbott, a senior business official at Yoti, said the access was less intrusive than physical identifiers, which could include address and other personal information, while the digital ID simply demonstrated age.