The information on this page represents the opinion of ORGIC and not that of UKCIS, the DDCMS (Dept for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) or BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) all of who remain impartial when it comes to recommending commercial age verification solutions.
Age Verification Solutions for Adult Websites
The 2018 Digital Economy Act dictates that all adult websites set up on a commercial basis (they make money from charging a ‘fee to view’ or receive money from advertisers) must have a robust age verification system in place to stop children (under 18’s) from viewing pornography online when in the UK (Even if the website is hosted abroad).
Full details of the act and your obligations can be found HERE
This page assesses the age verification solutions that we think will be approved by the regulator (The British Board of Film Classification).
Please note : The act had not been implemented yet, so there is little real-life evidence as to how some of these systems work in practice. We will be continually updating this page as more information comes to light, so the information below is based upon our research, initial findings and information provided by the suppliers themselves (who have all be asked to contribute their own summary of their products.
Already well established in the wider digital identity market, Yoti have worked with the NSPCC and Internet Watch Foundation in the development of their age verification systems. The free Yoti app lets individuals share their verified 18+ attribute with an adult website, at the click of a button or scan of a QR code. No other personal details are shared.
To create your Yoti account, you take a selfie, verify your phone number and add an ID document (like a passport or driving licence). Your selfie is matched to your photo ID, and your ID document is verified as being genuine. You can then share specific details, such as your name or date of birth with a business, in this instance sharing nothing more than your verified 18+ attribute with an adult website, meaning users can do free anonymous age verification.
More details, videos and a demo can be found at https://www.yoti.com/business/sector-use-cases/age-verification/
Cost: Free for users to set up a Yoti, free for users to share their verified 18+ attribute, and free for BBFC compliant adult content providers to check the age of users.
Comments : The system claims to be able to detect a picture of a real person as opposed to a ‘photograph of a photograph’. I am sure this works – but only time will tell if it is 100% accurate. The system stores data on a secure server and claim that the identity profile can only be matched with a user via the users app on their phone.
Verime is a company owned by Telecom2 and has developed an age verification system that just needs a mobile phone number! The user enters their telephone number when entering an adult website and an SMS/text message is sent to that phone. The user responds by sending the message ‘VERIFY’ back to 89188 and is then verified as over 18. (they check if there is an age block on the phone).
If you don’t want to use your phone you can also submit a driving license number, passport number or electoral role information to be verified.
Cost : Free for users, 12p per age check for website owners.
Comments : A superb verification system from a trustworthy organisation. We have seen this system in operation and it works very well. The mobile phone option to verify age is fast, free and straightforward. The only downside we can see is that a 12p cost per verification to the website owner might not sit comfortably with some business models.
Without doubt one of the market leaders in the field of identity and age verification. Based in Chester they are a hugely experienced organisation with extensive knowledge in their field. They claim to be able to identify someone from any one of 4,000 different ID documents! We are not sure if they intend to provide a full age verification solution or just act as a ‘third party’ to other providers. We will post details here when we have them.
Cost : Not sure yet (and may not be applicable)
Comments : The market leaders, will be sure to come up with a robust solution if they choose to do so, but we are VERY unsure if they intend to enter this market directly. They are only listed here as a result of a rumour we have heard!
AgePass – Powered by AVSecure
AVSecure is a new company with an innovative way of storing your personal data (using blockchain technology). With its age verification system called AgePass the user can select one of several verification methods such as mobile phone number, credit or debit card details plus address, driving licence or passport ID. This information is submitted and the user receives an access key. They then set a PIN number. An ‘Age Verification Card’ is also available as an anonymous verification method. These can be obtained at up to 60,000 retail stores across the UK including major supermarket chains. The card allows face-to-face age verification to be completed at the point of sale. (If the consumer appears to be over 18, no additional proof is required).
AVSecure does not collect any personal data and therefore does not ‘know’ its customers. They do not request an email or password which is often easily traceable back to an individual. It requests consumers perform an age-authentication check with trusted third-parties and once validated, its software allows consumers to create an anonymous ‘root’ access account that can generate one-off use tokens when they visit websites in the future. The generation of these one-off use tokens, which are passed to the website providers, ensure that the consumers leave no age-related traceable information. In other words, they have no way of tracking information about how, where and when, you use your AVSecure verification login or indeed who you actually are.
So how does AVSecure make money from this venture?
AVSecure is primarily a blockchain technology company and has no interest in collecting or distributing personal data. It’s target objective is to develop effective, high-volumetric use of its own in-house technology, which it will then make available to other sectors.
Cost : Free to merchants and free to users (unless they choose to buy a zero-digital footprint Age Verification Card for £10)
Comments : It remains to be seen how many people will be prepared to go into a shop and ask for an ID card in person, but this certainly the most anonymous method of all should it work as it is the only method that leaves a zero digital footprint. The blockchain aspect of their data security is interesting as it makes the data less likely to be hacked or tracked.
When an AgeID site is accessed it will invoke their age verification system. A customer first creates an AgeID account, they provide an email address and password, which is encrypted so that it cannot be reverse engineered and exposed. When a customer chooses an age verification method, they leave AgeID and enter their personal data into the 3rd party site in order to verify their age. AgeID does not store personal data input during the age verification process, it simply receives a yes/no (pass/fail) state back from the age verifier.
AgeID has multiple third parties covering such methods as a Credit Card, mobile SMS, passport and driving licence; however, the regulations pertaining to which age verification methods are to be compliant with the law have not yet been published, therefore AgeID will adapt as these come to light.
Cost : The tool is free of charge for all independent UK studios, producers and bloggers. AgeID will charge a non-variable flat fee for other providers based on an estimate of their UK traffic, using online metric tools. It is completely free for users.
Comments : The most controversial of all the solutions so far, not because it won’t work but because the system was developed by MindGeek, one of the adult industries largest players (They own Pornhub, RedTube and YouPorn etc). It remains to be seen how many website owners will be happy to use a system developed and operated by one of their competitors!
“Age Verify Yourself” is a cloud based age verification platform enabling anonymised Age Verification. No details have been received yet as to how their system actually works. We will update this section when we have further information.
Comments : It may be the case that AVYouself has teamed up with agechecked (below) to provide a solution but no confirmation has been given. (see https://www.retailtimes.co.uk/agechecked-teams-up-with-av-yourself-for-seamless-and-secure-age-verification/)
AgeChecked already have a large network of live clients across different global industries and have done so for a number of years which means many individuals are already on their databases and age verified
AgeChecked are a reputable organisation that sits on various councils, government bodies, trading associations inside and outside of the adult network including Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection, Lotteries Council, British Standards Institute, Digital Policy Alliance and Age Verification working group.
If a client has already been AgeChecked, they will not need to be verified again. They will simply need to log-in with their existing details. If they are already logged in and accepted cookies, they will not need to do anything.
With AgeChecked, users only need to successfully pass age verification options once. From this point onwards, they have an AgeChecked account and can automatically pass from one site to another without any further verification. (so long as that other site uses agechecked.com as a verification provider). Verification is done via credit card, phone or driving license.
Users personal details are not kept by AgeChecked but they do record a date and time stamp of individual checks. Installation is via a range of plug-ins (not specified) and an API.
Cost : Have asked, but they simply say “Our prices are based on user sessions per month.” I assume it’s free for users.
Comments : When asked if they use third party organisations to verify age they say “We use a range of databases including our own.” so unfortunately we can’t assess how secure this system is yet.
No Information yet.
After the ‘launch’ of age verification (in 2020?) we will carry out tests of each system and solicit feedback from users. We will publish the results of these findings in due course after the systems have been in use for a few months.