By Elton Gomes
The UIDAI has made it mandatory for users to undergo facial recognition for additional Aadhaar authentication, starting with telecom service providers (TSPs). If you are planning to get a new SIM card on or after September 15, you need to have your facial verification done. Starting with TSPs, the UIDAI plans to extend this security measure to banks, public distribution system, office attendance at government offices, and other institutions where Aadhaar authentication is required.
The ‘live face photo’ capture and its verification with the photo obtained in eKYC (electronic Know Your Customer) will be required only in those instances where Aadhaar is used to obtain SIM cards, as per a report by news agency PTI, Business Standard reported.
Last week, the UIDAI announced a phased rollout of facial recognition and said the feature would begin with TSPs from September 15, although the initial plan was to implement it by the previous deadline of August 1, non-compliance from some device providers delayed the rollout.
The new facial recognition feature will be beneficial for people who face difficulties in Aadhaar authentication due to worn out fingerprints. UIDAI has put forth a two-factor authentication for the use of facial authentication by telecom companies. Facial authentication will be done using fingerprint or iris and face after an individual provides their Aadhaar number. For those who provide a virtual ID, authentication will be done on the basis of fingerprint or iris.
What is face authentication, and how will it work?
In simple terms, face authentication means the user’s photo will be captured and compared with the one stored in the Aadhaar database. The photos will be matched in the eKYC process so that SIMs can be issued on the basis of Aadhaar cards. TSPs will then have to store the photos and ensure that the live photo matches the one in the eKYC before the SIM is activated. For SIM cards that do not require an Adhaar card, this rule will not be applied.
Making Aadhaar more inclusive
In addition to providing a security layer, the UIDAI facial recognition feature is also aimed at making the Aadhaar process “more inclusive.” “There have been numerous instances where people have been excluded from Aadhaar authentication as their fingerprints have become worn out due to old age, or since they are involved in manual labour or agriculture. The use of facial recognition will help include such people in the Aadhaar authentication process,” UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey told the Times of India.
Pandey added that the UIDAI will review any potential shortcomings in the system: “Face authentication is the latest technology, and provides added security. After we hit 10 per cent of authentication transactions, we will have a review of any possible shortfalls that we notice in the system or processes. Thereafter, we will expand, within telecom and also to other service areas where separate instructions shall be issued regarding implementation of face recognition,” Pandey said, as per the Times of India report.
According to India Today, the move could result in discontent as an earlier circular said facial recognition was not mandatory. As the move comes just before the Supreme Court might announce its verdict on making Aadhaar mandatory to avail services, it could invite some criticism from users.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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