Ahead of the finalization of the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) Age Appropriate Design Code, and in acknowledgment of Safer Internet Day, Yoti recently published a blog post detailing how it uses its solutions to help protect children online.
In a post titled “Helping to protect kids this Safer Internet Day and beyond”, Yoti notes that as the Code is set to be finalized a number of companies are looking for ways to ensure that their services, messaging, and content is all age-appropriate.
The Code actually came into force on September 2 of 2020, though there is a 12-month transition period, meaning that conformity is mandatory by September 2 of 2021.
Yoti states it is working with partners in the ICO Sandbox — which, according to the ICO, is “a service developed by the ICO, to support organisations who are creating products and services which utilise personal data in innovative and safe ways” — to help with the development of “privacy-preserving age estimation technology” that aims to accurately determine the age of children under 13.
“This vital ICO Sandbox partnership will offer child-centric content moderation with global scalability on a Software as a Service (SaaS) basis,” reads the blog post. “This will include privacy information and accessible parental consent mechanisms, including the option to use age estimation for parental consent.”
According to Yoti, its solution is currently able to estimate the age of 13-25 year old individuals within 1.5 years of accuracy, but the company admits that gaining data to train the algorithms for those under 13 years of age is difficult due to legal barriers designed to protect such individuals.
“The ICO is working with Yoti to tackle this challenge and with your help, we can expand our technology to provide leading accuracy and protect 7-12 year olds,” writes the post’s author.
The company notes that its efforts can be aided and supported by parents by sharing a photo of their child in order to build out a consented dataset on which its algorithms can be trained.
Yoti has been active in the mission to make the internet a safer space for children. In July of 2020, the UK-based company announced it was joining the Point de Contact association in an effort to play a more active role in the fight against child exploitation.
Safer Internet Day is in its 18th year, and was established with the mission to “[call] upon all stakeholders to join together to make the internet a safer and better place for all, and especially for children and young people.”
February 10, 2021 – by Tony Bitzionis