There are many methods used for age verification online and in real-world scenarios such as physical ID checks, online checkboxes and age gates, credit card/bank authorization and digital ID upload, however, this article will focus on age verification using face analysis.
What is Age Verification?
Age verification is the process of confirming an individual’s age based on an analysis of their facial features using AI, or more specifically computer vision. An age analysis tool is usually implemented for the purpose of ensuring child protection, online or in-store, with the aim to prevent access to age restricted goods (Alcohol, tobacco, e-cigarettes), services (online dating, gambling), or adult content (pornography) that has otherwise been classified as inappropriate for users under a certain age.
Age restrictions are usually imposed by local governments on businesses who offer adult-oriented goods or services or it can sometimes be freely adopted by businesses themselves who wish to add extra age safeguards. There is no set legal age requirement, this is because the minimum age threshold varies between countries and is also dependent on the type of goods or services that are on offer. In the UK for example, customers are asked by staff for ID if they appear to be younger than 25, yet the legal requirement to buy alcohol is 18. An age checking system in this case would therefore be set to flag anyone who appears younger than 25 and request a secondary check of ID to be carried out by staff.
How does Age Verification work?
Age verification works via the process of face analysis technology. The technology works through the use of deep learning algorithms which estimate a person’s age by analyzing their facial features. The algorithms are trained on a large pre-existing data set of faces which enables them to learn the facial features denotative of each age group. The larger the data set the more accurate the software will be in accurately estimating an individual’s age. The only data that is collected is the information pertaining to the users age and there is no collection or storage of images and personal data.
An example of how age verification works in the offline space is the process that occurs at self-service checkouts. Rather than having to call over an employee, age verification software that is already built into the checkout, allows users to quickly self-verify their age, streamlining the entire checkout process. As mentioned, if the customer’s age is close to the legal minimum, a secondary manual check will then be implemented.
Alternatively, age verification software in the online sphere works by accurately flagging underage visitors and only allowing 18+ users to pass through each age restricted site with ease. A pop up or a request for ID verification can appear upon entry to the website, during browsing or when registering for an account. The age verification process simply entails a quick and anonymous check of the user’s age by analyzing an image/selfie provided by the user on devices such as mobiles, ipads or laptops. This is non-intrusive and considerably quicker than other verification techniques.
What are the benefits of using Age Verification software?
In an age of fast service, companies need to maintain a seamless user experience in order to encourage purchases, face analysis can provide the speed that is required by consumers while also maintaining accuracy and anonymity. This verification method also triumphs over other methods such as credit card or document ID verification as validating a person’s age using their face removes any opportunity for fraudulent activity. The technology is also spoof proof as it has liveness detection built in. Consumers have more freedom and flexibility since forgetting to bring an ID is no longer a problem with face analysis. Lastly, the continuous improvement in accuracy and the large scalability of the software makes it a desirable choice for any industry.
Across which industries can age be verified?
Age recognition software is the perfect solution for companies who need to utilize consumer age verification. Any place that sells adult products online or in-store from alcohol to cannabis to tobacco and e-cigarettes is legally required to verify consumer age. Due to an increase in minors having access to the web, legislation is becoming more stringent and is being applied on a global scale. Industries where age verification technology can be applied are;
- Dating Sites
- Gaming, Sports Betting & Gambling
- Children’s e-learning websites
- E-commerce sites selling tobacco, alcohol, vaping supplies
- Weapons suppliers
- Retail, Supermarkets and Convenience Stores
- Smart Vending Machines selling alcohol, tobacco or cannabis
- Hospitality: Bars, nightclubs and adult entertainment venues
How does Age Verification software ensure compliance with government age based regulations?
Age-based regulations have already been established in-store (i.e. supermarkets) for a long time but the online world is just beginning to catch up. The long used ‘please confirm you are 18+’ box-ticking exercise is no longer a sufficient age validation method and businesses are now having to adhere to the new legal requirements set out by regulatory authorities worldwide.
Age estimation software enables businesses to comply with these regulations as they can supply accurate and anonymous age verifications that cannot be falsified or tricked, while also protecting individual privacy. Examples of current age-based regulations:
- PACT act which requires online retailers who supply adult products such as tobacco or vape pens to use age verification software in their pre-sale checks.
- COPPA is a U.S. federal law which limits the collection and use of personal information about children under the age of 13 by the operators of Internet services and Web sites
- Digital Economy Act 2017 is a UK regulation that prevents pornographic material from being made accessible on the internet to people under the age of 18.
There are many existing and emerging regulations world wide that age verification technology can assist with. If you require an anonymous age estimation solution you can try our product free for two weeks.