Other News Technology

UK’s first PASS approved Digital Proof of Age Card set to reduce fraud and retailer prosecution

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The threat of retailers facing prosecution by accepting fake ID cards at the point of purchase is a step closer to being eradicated this Autumn.

Luciditi Age Proof is an accredited Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) digital card that is entering its live testing phase and has been designed by digital identity platform Luciditi to safeguard young people needing to verify their age.

Providing added peace of mind to retailers, the digital Age Proof cards offer much greater security from fraud, unlike physical ID which is routinely forged.

The move towards digital is set to be well received by young people, with 94% of respondents in favour of a digital form of ID that they can use on their phone, according to an auditor community survey by Serve Legal, the UK market leader in age-verification auditing. A further 90% felt it would be more desirable than carrying a physical ID card such as a driving license or passport.

Ian Moody, co-founder and CEO for Luciditi, commented: “We’re very excited at the prospect of launching the UK’s first PASS digital proof of age card as it will completely transform the way age is verified at the point of purchase. Age Proof provides enhanced data security and convenience for young people, whilst eliminating the current threat of prosecution caused by retailers accepting fraudulent physical cards.”

Age Proof cards will be able to be accessed via a smartphone app and harness QR technology to provide real-time verification – offering speed, convenience and greater data protection to young people aged 16+ and 18+.

The 16+ digital cards provide a host of benefits, allowing this age group to legally purchase energy drinks, age-restricted computer games or music and over-the-counter medication such as paracetamol, through to buying a pet or getting body piercings without parental consent.

The 18+ card includes features such as legal entry into a pub or gambling venue, the purchase of cigarettes or vapes and purchasing a tattoo. The only current restriction on the card is that the Licensing Act for the sale of alcohol only allows physical cards bearing the PASS hologram and logo as acceptable proof of age when purchasing alcohol. Changes to the law are anticipated in 2024 which will add digital PASS and make it permittable to buy alcohol using Age Proof.

Ian Moody from Luciditi, added: “Fake ID cards, whether they be forged physical identity cards, driving licenses or even passports, have become more and more sophisticated in recent years and have proven a major headache for retailers. We’ve developed a standards-based digital solution which brings the UK a giant step closer to eradicating the problem completely.”

Tony Allen is executive director for Age Check Certification Scheme, the world’s first dedicated conformity assessment body on age assurance and the PASS-appointed independent auditors. He commented: “The Luciditi Age Proof system has been subject to a rigorous audit to the published PASS standards, including ensuring security, privacy, accuracy and the inclusion of anti-fraud measures.

“It’s also a significant boost to the retail sector and is a precursor to enhanced automation, with work already underway to establish a universal transaction method across all retailers that avoids consumers needing multiple apps to verify their age. The implementation of digital verification technology across all self-checkouts and electronic point of sale (EPOS) systems will be key to this and is expected to be rolled out as soon as the Home Office complete their forthcoming consultation on digitally enhanced transactions for alcohol.”

Prior to the official launch of Age Proof, Luciditi is inviting one thousand 16-25 year olds to receive a free digital card in return for their feedback. The company is also working with Serve Legal to roll-out a testing programme on products such as vapes, energy drinks and gambling scratch cards across retailers ranging from supermarkets to convenience stores.

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Legislation Other News

Online retailers warned of the impact of upcoming Online Safety Bill

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Online retailers selling age-restricted products are exploiting a current lack of regulation and face being unprepared for the online safety bill due this Autumn.

The warning to firms comes as a study conducted by digital identity platform, Luciditi reveals that weapons, alcohol and vapes are just some of the items that children as young as seven years old can purchase online without having to securely verify their age.

Although the forthcoming government Online Safety Bill anticipated later this year will tighten regulations, there is currently no robust law enforcement in place to prevent companies selling to under-age people online.

Iain Corby, executive director for the Age Verification Providers Association, a politically neutral trade body representing all areas of the age-assurance ecosystem, commented: “For too long, regulators have neglected enforcement of age restrictions online. We are now seeing their attention shift towards the internet, and those firms which offer goods and services where a minimum age applies, should urgently implement a robust age verification solution to avoid very heavy fines.”

Ian Moody, co-founder and CEO for Luciditi, commented: “The law is very clear in that it is an offence to sell items such as weapons, alcohol and vapes to under-age children online and yet our study reveals that many online retailers still don’t have either the technological capabilities or the appetite to adhere to it.”

The research conducted coincides with the launch of Luciditi’s new online age check solution called Age Assurance. It can be deployed across an online retailer’s website or mobile app and simply requires shoppers to take a selfie prior to accessing the site. Within seconds it will confirm if they are over a certain age, does not reveal their identity and is the digital equivalent of being age estimated at the check-out in a supermarket or off-license by a member of staff.

Ian added: “Under-age online purchases are going largely unchallenged and so we feel we’ve developed a solution that enables online companies to protect young people, whilst simplifying the transaction process.

“We will naturally welcome the Online Safety Bill when it is unveiled but it will take at least 18 months for the new regulations to be enforced. We’d urge businesses across online retailing to take steps now to safeguard young people online rather than wait until the eleventh hour to take decisive action.”

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If you would like to learn more or try out the Luciditi Age Assurance Plugin for WordPress or understand how Luciditi Age Assurance technology can help your website or business, contact us for a chat today.

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