Two major supermarket chains in the UK are getting ready to trial facial recognition at self-service checkouts in order to do away with manual identity checks for purchases of alcohol and cigarettes.
The development represents perhaps the first major real-world test of Yoti, a digital identity app announced just last week. The app is designed to store personal identity documents, and uses facial recognition technology via selfie photos to verify users’ identities. The company says its technology is now about to be given a test drive by two of the UK’s four major supermarket chains, which include Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, and Tesco, though it hasn’t specified which in particular.
The idea is to equip self-service lanes with technology that can use Yoti to verify that customers are of age to buy restricted goods. To that end, Yoti has been working with NCR, a provider of self-checkout machines, to develop a system in which a till can display a QR code that can then be scanned by the Yoti app on a smartphone. The app is then able to confirm the identity of the user with a selfie photo.
As Business Insider reports, news of the developed has already resulted in a pushback from privacy advocates, with the director of the Open Rights Group calling the rising use of biometric technology in everyday life “a worrying trend,” and adding that “we should also be concerned if services like shops push individuals to use a specific identity provider.”
Yoti’s business model depends on such corporate partnerships. While the Yoti app is free to individual users, certain fees are scheduled to kick in for businesses’ large-scale use of the platform starting at the end of March of next year.
November 16, 2017 – by Alex Perala