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Digital identity provides secure age verification in retail

The possibilities to carry out a digital age verification are steadily increasing. A large number of providers now offer various methods of verification online. For example, it is possible to upload a selfie of yourself. The face is then compared with other faces with an already known age, and the age is narrowed down by comparison. In order to give children and young people access to age-appropriate products and content, exact age verification is necessary. Age verification also plays an important role online as well as physically, offline when selling alcohol or other consumer goods. With digital identity there is a new opportunity to providing reliable services.

Protection of minors – but only with data sovereignty

The digital, self-sovereign ID wallet (derived from Self-Sovereign Identity) offers the potential to greatly accelerate the development in the direction of youth protection. In the future, users could carry a digitized proof of age with them. The mobile device, the smartphone, plays a central role here. There, in a place specially created for this purpose, the wallet, a profile, the so-called digital identity, could be created on which the digital proof of age is then stored accordingly.

This approach offers a number of advantages: A digital proof of age could significantly accelerate regular checks at the point of sale, or POS for short. In addition, this solution would enable further verifications to be bundled with the proof of age in the wallet on the smartphone, which in future would also enable access to buildings such as schools or universities. The protection of the data and thus also the data sovereignty of the users should come first in the specifications.

The European Union runs an initiative for digital identification in online transactions in Europe. The aim is to make online services safer and easier across Europe.

However, the initiative does not include mandatory, secure and simple age verification at all POS.

Requirements for sustainable age verification

In Germany, age verification is currently receiving a lot of attention, especially in the context of youth media protection. A network block is under discussion. Anyone who wants to access content on the Internet that is not suitable for minors should first have to register with an ID. From the perspective of data protection and also feasibility, there are obviously a number of questions. The needs of users should be at the center of developing a sustainable, digital solution for an age verification system.

The services must not know more personal data than the user would like to share. The attribute issuer, i.e. the authority that confirms the age, should also not be allowed to know who is asking for it. Age verification must not be misused to record the activities of individual users without permission. A solution to the challenge of age verification must further aim at facing the problems mentioned both online and offline in the physical environment.

Age verification safe and smart with myEGO

A digital identity through SSI offers a secure and reliable solution to carry out age verification. In an SSI ecosystem, the data sovereignty of the users is the central focus.

myEGO offers an easy-to-implement solution to provide trustworthy evidence of access authorization. MyEGO users can be sure that data is encrypted at all times and that only necessary information is passed on in a data-saving manner – always under the full control of the user. The myEGO wallet brings the advantages of SSI technology directly to the user. With the myEGO wallet, many advantages can be implemented with a single connection: Can be used online and offline, different certificate issuers can be connected without any problems, age determination without data transfer. As a special bonus, certificates that have been entered can be used multiple times.