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ESRB Blasts Reports That It’s Using Facial Recognition Technology to Verify Ages of Children

Facial Recognition Technology
(Image Source: ESRB (via FTC) @www.pcgamer.com)

Hold onto your hats, gamers, ’cause there’s a wild ride on the horizon! The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is cookin’ up something special to stop those pesky kids from sneakin’ around parental controls. You heard it right – they’re bringin’ facial age estimation to the table, and it’s got everyone talkin’!

In cahoots with digital identity firm Yoti and youth media giant SuperAwesome, the ESRB has put in an application to the FTC to get the green light for their so-called “Privacy-Protective Facial Age Estimation.” Now, you might be wonderin’ what the heck that means. Well, listen up ’cause it’s a real head-scratcher!

Picture this: it’s facial recognition with a twist! Instead of ID-ing folks, it’s all about guessin’ their age based on their face patterns. Ain’t that somethin’? The ESRB ain’t lookin’ to toss out other verification methods, oh no! This fancy new tech is just gonna tag along as an extra, optional way to get things done.

But don’t you worry your pretty little head – the ESRB’s got privacy on their mind. They’re swearin’ up and down that the system won’t keep a stash of your face pics or try to play detective with your identity. It’s all about protectin’ your info, no ifs, ands, or buts!

Now, before you start thinkin’ this is about kiddos gettin’ locked out of games, stop right there! The ESRB ain’t lookin’ to keep the youngins from havin’ fun. Nah, they got somethin’ else up their sleeve.

Here’s the scoop: If you’re lookin’ to sign up for a new service and you’re under 13, brace yourself ’cause you’ll need to hand over your parent’s email address. Yep, you gotta get that parental nod before you can dive into the gaming wonderland!

So, how does this face magic work? Easy peasy! You snap a selfie, and voil√† – it turns into a bunch of numbers that dance around with Yoti’s database of face stuff. It’s like your face is speakin’ a secret code! Then, the system decides if you’re a yes or a no – whether you hit the age mark or not.

And here’s a nifty trick – only live photos are allowed! No still pics or wily tricks will work on this high-tech gatekeeper. It’s got a “required level of quality” it’s lookin’ for, and if you don’t meet the cut, well, you’re outta luck. But don’t fret; the whole shebang only takes a blink of an eye – about a second, they say!

Now, let me drop some knowledge on ya. The ESRB’s got an age threshold of 25 set to keep teenagers and young-lookin’ folks from pullin’ a fast one and pretendin’ to be parents. Smart thinkin’, ain’t it?

The gang behind this tech is makin’ a point to separate it from the regular ol’ facial recognition we all know and, well, not love. See, it’s not about ID-ing you; it’s all about your age. No snoopin’ around to find out who you are in a sea of faces – just a quick peek at your age range. Ain’t that a relief?

Now, I get it; some folks are waggin’ their fingers at this stuff, and for good reason! Privacy and human rights peeps ain’t thrilled about facial tech, worryin’ it’s got some bias problems. But the ESRB and their buddies ain’t backin’ down. They’re claimin’ their facial age thingamajig is spot-on accurate 99.97% of the time and that the difference in rejection rates based on gender and skin tone is practically nothin’.

Sure, this tech’s got its skeptics, but the ESRB and pals reckon it’s worth a shot. Over in the UK and EU, about 35% of folks who tried this face stuff got turned away. So, kiddos, don’t go tryin’ to outsmart the system ’cause it’s got your number!

But hold on, folks; this ain’t just a gaming tale. Nope, states all over the US are lookin’ to make age verification a must-do for minors tryin’ to dive into games and other online shenanigans. It’s all about keepin’ things in check, they say!

So, there you have it, a jaw-droppin’, eye-poppin’, facial age tech extravaganza brought to you by the ESRB and friends. Will it fly? Time will tell, but for now, keep those selfies ready, ’cause you might just need ’em to play your favorite games!

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