ESRB's Creepy New Facial Recognition Program Might One Day Decide What Games You Get To Play!

ESRB are seeking approval from the FTC to use a new type of facial recognition program. This program can scan your face and estimate your age - If the computer thinks you're underage, no GTA for you. And as you'd imagine, consumers hate the idea.

Yikes ESR Bs Creepy New Facial Recognition Program Has Been Met With Severe Backlash
ESRB's idea has not gone down well with gamers, who accuse the scheme of being an attack on privacy. | © ESRB / Ubisoft / EarlyGame

At some point in the future you might have to scan your face to prove that you're old enough to play the games you've bought. Sounds awful, doesn't it? Well, it's certainly an attack on privacy, but that won't stop ESRB!

  • Speaking of age-restricted games, the full Mafia Trilogy is well-worth checking out for anyone waiting for GTA 6.

ESRB Seek FTC's Approval To Use "Facial Age Estimation" Technology

ESRB want the FTC to allow them to roll out a new type of facial recognition software that will detect your age. They want to use this software to digitally verify whether users are old enough to play mature games. Now, in fairness the technology we're talking about is 99.97% accurate according to their report, but it's more the privacy concerns that consumers are upset about.

Here are three most-liked comments in response to Dexerto's reporting on the news:

Seriously though, I don’t want you scanning my child’s face. A bit of an overstep I’d say.
Do we really need a tech solution for allowing people to play their video game of choice?

The case in favor of this new technology is pretty flimsy. It basically comes down to whether you're willing to submit even more personal privacy in favor of convenience, at least for most users.

However, there is one use case that impressed us when reading through the ESRB's proposal. With their "Facial Age Estimation" technology, even those from poorer backgrounds who don't have access to photo IDs would still be able to verify their age digitally. As ESRB explain:

Facial Age Estimation does not require ownership of a government-issued identity document or access to payment methods such as credit cards. It therefore promotes inclusion by enabling age verification for people who do not have the necessary credentials under the most common methods of VPC authorized by the COPPA Rule. In the United States, an estimated 4.5% of households (approximately 5.9 million) were “unbanked” in 2021 and 17% do not have a credit card. About 15.9% of eligible Americans do not have a valid driver’s license, and there is a strong correlation between lower-income and minority ethnic groups and low rates of photo ID ownership.

But that really was one of the very few genuinely positive arguments we could pull from the proposal.

Where do you stand on ESRB's idea? Is it good for the industry, or a nightmare?

How about they start with age-verification for TikTok:

This article contains affiliate links which are marked with [shopping symbol]. These links can provide a small commission for us under certain conditions. This never affects the products price for you.