US government denies ESRB’s AI-powered face-scanning ‘age estimation’ proposal, but it’s probably not gone for good

In 2023, the Entertainment Software Rating Board, along with digital identity company Yoti and “youth marketing solutions” provider Superawesome, filed a proposal with the FTC for a new “verifiable parental consent mechanism” called Privacy-Protective Facial Age Estimation. The FTC has now issued its response to that proposal, and the answer is “no”—for now.

The ESRB’s proposed technology stirred feathers almost immediately, and understandably so: The idea of having to essentially submit a selfie to prove to a machine that you’re old enough to play GTA 6 is inherently intrusive, and that’s before you even get into questions of technological bias and whether or not the thing would work well enough to justify the headaches that would inevitably erupt for at least some users.

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