ESRB Wants To Verify Your Age With a Facial Scan


It has been revealed that the ESRB – the Entertainment Software Ratings Board in the United States – wants to introduce a system that would see users scan their faces using a mobile device to gain access to certain content – such as mature games.

It’s a triple-headed venture from the ESRB, Super Awesome (an Epic Games company) and Yoti, a firm specialising in ‘digital identity’ products. It’ll essentially put in place a blocker that aims to prevent young people from being freely able to access mature games – or potentially from playing any games at all unless their parent takes a picture of themselves first to greenlight the session.

Give Me Your Face

This new endeavour was revealed through a letter sent to the FTC by the ESRB (and discovered by, outlining the application to approve the ‘Verifiable Parental Consent Method’. It was a lengthy, 38-page document that went as deep as you could imagine into the technical specification of the entire end-to-end process, but it also cleared up a few key details:

  • All images taken are instantly and permanently deleted and not stored in Yoti’s backend
  • There is no risk to privacy – apparently, the images aren’t even transmitted in a conventional sense – they’re converted by an algorithm into a series of numbers that are identified by a facial recognition engine to determine if the user will be approved or not

At this stage, the FTC is seeking feedback from the public to determine whether or not it’ll proceed with further examination of the application. This period will last until the 21st of August.

What do you think? Would you use facial recognition software to keep your child safe from potentially harmful content, or do you not trust the concept?

For more Insider Gaming news, check out our coverage of Ubisoft’s statement on the ‘account deletion’ controversy