For a lot of services, online and offline, you need to provide evidence of your identity or your age. It is often inconvenient to do this ,and you may worry that your personal data is not secure once you have shared it. A new app aims to change all that.
Yoti is a free smartphone app (available for iPhones here and for Android phones here) which is changing the way we prove our identity. With Yoti you can instantly prove your age and who you are, on the internet or in person using a digital identity that has been verified by your passport or driving licence.
Yoti lets anyone verify the identity (name, photo and age) of people they meet online. This should help tackle fraud on the web. In particular dating websites should become safer, while visitors to websites where people sell goods or rent out accommodation, should feel more confident.
A big advantage of Yoti is that you only need to show the information necessary to get the job done. For instance to get into a bar all you need to do is prove your age. Your address will be kept hidden.
One large UK website Freeads is already using Yoti to let users display a verified (and thus trustworthy) profile. Dan Newman, the Managing Director at Freeads explains the benefits for his users: “Building trust among our community of buyers and sellers is incredibly important and this simple way of letting them verify each other’s details free of charge could be a game changer for sites like ours. We expect it to create a far safer environment for customers using our site and indeed any other sites where people need to communicate and transact either online or in person.”
Yoti will have many other uses. Younger adults can use it to prove their age on nights out or when buying age restricted items. Visitors to businesses or conferences will be able to prove they are who they say they are. It could also have a use in recruitment where proving the identity of new permanent and temporary workers has security benefits. Eventually we may its use in voting and even see banks using the system to establish identity and the NHS to prove that you are entitled to health services.
And it is a pretty easy service to use. You create a digital identity by taking a selfie, verifying a mobile number, adding a PIN, completing a test to prove that you are a real living person, and then scanning a passport or driving licence. It's all a lot safer than having to carry your passport with you to prove your age on a night out!