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New parental consent app wins BT’s Better World Innovation Challenge

Trust Elevate scoops prize for new app which boosts online safety, protects children’s data and helps businesses achieve regulatory compliance

A new app which helps protect the information rights of children and young people, and allows businesses to ensure the lawful handling of their data, has scooped the prize for BT and TechHub’s ‘Better World’ Innovation Challenge.

London-based tech start-up, Trust Elevate, has been awarded a £10,000 prize by BT for its ‘Veripass’ solution, with the judges of the competition seeking new technologies aimed at improving people’s lives.

The technology allows parents to provide their consent before their child makes online registrations, purchases and downloads, by verifying the age of the child and the parental relationship. It also allows child focused sites and apps to serve age-appropriate content to young children, while helping parents ensure that their child only interacts online with those within the same age-group.

Providers of online products and services can also use the technology to achieve compliance with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into effect in May. This requires that parental consent be given for the lawful processing of data relating to children under the age of 16. However, it has proved challenging in the past for online businesses to reliably verify the ages of children and that a particular adult carries parental responsibility for a specific child.

The new Veripass solution overcomes these issues by providing a ‘verify once, use many times’ secure token once the relevant consent, eligibility and verification checks have been completed. Parents are then able to approve or refuse permission for their child to access, download or purchase certain online content. Parents can also approve or reject permission for any third parties wishing to process their child’s personal data.

Katherine Ainley, MD of Better World, BT said: “Congratulations to Trust Elevate, whose technology impressed the judging panel by addressing clear internet safety, data privacy and regulatory issues.

“BT has been at the forefront of keeping families safe online for many years. We developed the world’s first Cleanfeed filter to block child abuse images and we’ve offered free parental controls for our broadband products and devices for some time.

“So we’re thrilled to be supporting this new technology which could potentially transform digital parenting. It also helps online businesses to achieve compliance with GDPR, avoiding financial and reputational damage.”

Dr Rachel O’Connell, Founder and CEO, Trust Elevate, said: “Businesses need to focus on building trust in how they handle people’s data, specifically children and young people. We are delighted that BT recognises the value of new technology innovations aimed at building consumer trust in how organisations handle children and young people’s data, and how these tools can enhance digital parenting and create safer spaces for children online.”

As well as being awarded with a £10,000 prize, Trust Elevate will now have the opportunity to work with BT to trial the Veripass solution with access to support and mentoring, as well as the company’s R&D, commercial and marketing expertise and resources over a six month period. Trust Elevate will also benefit from six months’ flexible access to Tech Hub’s London office in Tech City, which provides access to workspaces and industry events.

Meanwhile, an online platform from London-based Tlero which supports employees’ mental health and wellbeing won BT’s ‘People’s Choice’ award for its Better World Innovation Challenge. Members of the public were able to cast votes for their preferred finalists via social media, alongside BT employees.

The online platform is aimed at helping companies improve the wellbeing of their employees, by providing access to a personalised online hub which features a non-diagnostic symptoms checker. The platform also offers access to online coaching and connects them to health advisors and mental health and wellbeing groups and events, tailored specifically to their location and personal wellbeing levels.

Will Pryke, Head of BT Infinity Lab, said: “The issue of mental health is a growing concern for companies of all shapes and sizes. Members of the public clearly agree that the solution from Tlero fulfils an important need for British businesses to take the mental health and wellbeing of their employees seriously by providing personalised tools which support them in the workplace. Congratulations to Tlero, who will now benefit from six months’ access to TechHub’s workspace and events to help them further develop their product.”

Gabriel Saclain, Founder & CEO at Tlero, said: “We’re so excited to have won the People’s Choice award this year. At Tlero, we believe that the key to improving mental health care lies in human connections and a fun, engaging approach so we’re thrilled to know we have the support of the public and BT employees. We’re looking forward to working with TechHub to continue to grow and tackle the mental health crisis around the country.”

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