UIDAI announces phased roll-out of face authentication

• Aadhaar issuing body UIDAI has finally announced a phased roll-out of the face recognition feature as an additional mode of authentication, starting with telecom service providers from September 15.

• The Authority had earlier planned to roll out the face recognition feature from July 1, a target that was later pushed to August 1. It has also proposed a monetary disincentive for telcos found slipping on the prescribed targets from the middle of next month.

• For authentication agencies other than telecom service providers, UIDAI said specific instruction will be issued on the implementation of the face authentication feature, but did not give a fresh deadline.

• Significantly, the Unique Identification Authority of India has further said ‘live face photo’ capture and its verification with the photo obtained in eKYC will be essential in cases where Aadhaar is used for issuance of mobile SIMs.

• UIDAI says the move is aimed at curbing the possibility of fingerprint spoofing or cloning and seeks to tighten the audit process and security around issuance and activation of mobile SIMs.

• It may be recalled that in June this year, a Hyderabad-based mobile SIM card distributor had forged Aadhaar details to activate thousands of SIMs.

• UIDAI has proposed a two-factor authentication for use of face recognition by telcos. Where an individual provides Aadhaar number, the authentication will be done using fingerprint or iris and face.

• For individuals providing Virtual ID, the authentication can be on the basis of fingerprint or iris. UIDAI said in case an individual is unable to authenticate fingerprint or iris, face authentication can be used as an additional mode, to make the system more inclusive.

• This will ensure that telcos provide face capture facilities to customers who encounter difficulty in authenticating due to worn out fingerprints.

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