Young cinema-goers will soon be able to prove their age using a smartphone app instead of their passport

For teenage moviegoers in the UK, a visit to the cinema has often been problematic. Age restrictions on certain movies means that young people have had to show official identification before they are able to buy a ticket.
Unfortunately, this means being able to produce a passport or a driving licence – and not all teenagers have one. Or they may not want to take valuable official documents to a place where they could be lost or stolen.

Technology to the rescue

To help solve the problem, the UK Cinema Association has introduced a plan to accept digital IDs. Under the scheme, cinemagoers aged 13 and over will be able to use the free Yoti ID smartphone app.

The Yoti app is designed to be extremely simple. First, the user scans a picture of their government issued photo ID. Next, they snap a selfie. Finally, Yoti’s AI algorithms compare both pictures – if they match, identity is confirmed and the user is given a unique digital ID.

Yoti claim that their AI systems are good enough to approve (or reject) 95% of digital ID applications without needing to be reviewed by a human.

Can the system be fooled?

Because digital IDs are so important, is it possible to fool the system, or create a fake Yoti ID? No, because the digital IDs can also be verified.

When a user presents their digital ID at the cinema ticket office, the cashier can quickly scan the attached QR code. In a matter of seconds the cashier can confirm that the ID is legitimate and sell the requested ticket. If the ID is fake, the user can be turned away so they are not exposed to inappropriate content – and the cinema is protected against prosecution for selling tickets to underage customers.

A widely accepted digital ID app

The UK Cinema Association represents 90% of British cinema operators including Odeon, Vue, Cineworld and Showcase Cinemas. Which means that young people in most towns across the country will face fewer problems with ID when buying age restricted tickets.

But Yoti’s acceptance goes far beyond cinemas. It is also accepted by the National Health Service (NHS), the Virgin Atlantic airline, the Scottish Improvement Service, Jersey government and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

In fact, Yoti works closely with official bodies across the world to provide digital ID services. They now operate in more than 200 countries and can digitally verify 5,500+ different official ID documents. And their service is available for all citizens – not just those aged under 18.

A sign of the future

The need for trusted, secure digital ID to access goods and services is becoming more important every day. Fast and simple to use, the Yoti smartphone app offers a potential solution to the technical challenges faced with setting up a digital ID solution that really works.