The ESRB is looking to approve age checking via facial recognition

by Danny Craig  · 
The ESRB is looking to approve age checking via facial recognition

The Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) has proposed a new technique of age checking through facial recognition to prevent minors from accessing certain games and features.

The details:

  • As reported by, the ESRB has teamed up with digital identity firm Yoti and Epic Games subsidiary SuperAwesome to file a proposal with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to approve the use of its "Privacy-Protective Facial Age Estimation" technology. The new procedure would require a user to take a selfie of themselves, which would then be sent to Yoti's backend server, which would estimate the user's age. The verification procedure will then take an average of one second before approving or rejecting the user's request to access the content.
  • According to the filing, images are "immediately, permanently deleted, and not used by Yoti for training purposes" and pose no “substantial risk to parents’ privacy, and addresses issues of bias and discrimination as well as inclusion.” The process is also presented as an optional system for parents to use as an additional layer of security to prevent children from accessing games with higher age ratings and other sensitive or inappropriate content, which means that no one is forced to upload images of themselves to Yoti unless they agree to do so.
  • All photos submitted must be taken in real-time, with the system also determining whether the image is of a live human or a previously taken photo. According to the filing, this decision was made to "minimize the risk of circumvention and of children taking images of unaware adults," which means that children cannot simply keep a photo of their parent on their phone or even take an image of a photograph found around the house.
  • The FTC is now requesting input from the public on the technology, with public commenting available on the Federal Register. Anyone who wishes to comment on the proposal may do so until the feedback period closes on August 21.

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