Major UK cinemas announce digital child ID for age verification

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Ninety per cent of UK cinema operators are set to accept digital IDs for children aged 13 and over as proof of age to prevent them seeing films that are too old for them.

The UK Cinema Association, which represents over 90% of UK cinema operators including Cineworld, Odeon, Showcase Cinemas and Vue, has announced a partnership with digital identity provider Yoti which will see participating venues accept Yoti and Post apps Partner’s Office EasyID as proof of age.

Young people from the age of 13 will prove their age using the Yoti application, which uses biometric technology, from their smartphone.

The association said in a statement that it will “reduce the challenges many theaters face in verifying age, as required by the current film rating system.”

Phil Clapp, CEO of the UK Cinema Association, said: “For many who want to get into a film with a 15 or even 18 year certificate, proving their age – without a passport or driving license to hand – can be incredibly difficult and an understandable source. of frustration if they were to be turned away from the cinema.

“Of the 165-170 million admissions a year UK cinemas saw pre-pandemic, around 30% were in the 15-24 age bracket (and around 20% in the 9-14),” he added. “Since cinemas reopened last May, those proportions are likely to be even higher.”

“Young people expect to be able to do anything with their phone and using it to prove their age will come naturally to them. It’s a win-win for cinemas and young moviegoers,” said Robin Tombs, CEO and co- founder of Yoti.

Pippa King, co-director of the children’s privacy rights organization Defend Digital Me, told The Epoch Times that she fears this “normalizes children to digital ID.”

King wondered if kids trying to get into theaters to see older movies really justified the rollout of digital ID.

“It creates another digital step for them that they don’t need and it encourages children to carry mobile phones with them too. You are creating a solution to a problem that does not exist. Where does this line of direction go? said the king.

Yoti is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Coalition and says it wants to make “the internet safer” with its digital ID and age verification technology.

He is also part of the World Economic Forum’s Global Coalition for Digital Security, which is a global initiative to “accelerate public-private cooperation to tackle harmful content online”.

In January, Yoti announced it was also testing facial age estimation technology for self-service checkouts at Asda, Tesco, Morrisons, Aldi and the Co-op to verify customers’ ages when purchasing products such as alcohol.

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Owen Evans is a UK-based journalist who covers a wide range of national stories, with a particular interest in civil liberties and free speech.

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