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New Aadhaar security layer: face match

Currently, UIDAI allows only two modes of biometric authentication: fingerprint authentication and iris authentication.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: January 16, 2018 4:05:00 am
Aadhaar, biometric devices, UIDAI, Aadhaar card holders, UIDAI encryption norms, fingerprint devices, encryption key, biometric devices, Aadhaar-based e-KYC, biometric capture, Aadhaar authentications Currently, UIDAI allows only two modes of biometric authentication: fingerprint authentication and iris authentication.

THE UNIQUE Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) Monday announced face recognition as an additional layer of Aadhaar authentication. The new feature can be used in “fusion” with the existing fingerprint or iris scans or one-time passwords (OTP).
Face recognition will be available starting July 1 and is expected to easy authentication for individuals unable to use fingerprint or biometric authentication.

The move comes days after the UIDAI introduced the most significant security upgrade last week with Virtual Ids (VID) to assuage security and privacy concerns. VIDs are expected to provide two layers of firewalls between Aadhaar-holders and authentication agencies from accessing an Aadhaar number.

“This facility is going to help in inclusive authentication of those who are not able to biometrically authenticate due to their worn out fingerprints, old age or hard work conditions,” UIDAI said in a statement. At present fingerprints and iris scans are the available modes of biometric authentications.

Since Aadhaar was introduced as an identifier for over 100 welfare schemes, and has been linked to several other services, cases of people unable to access food under the Public Distribution System or their money because their biometrics-usually fingerprints-did not match with their biometric data saved in the Aadhaar database, have been reported.

The face authentication feature, allowed on “need basis”, will work in “fusion mode”. The new facility will be an additional option UIDAI said, “allowed only in fusion mode along with one more authentication factor.” The face authentication will be allowed to verify a person’s identity only with either biometric-fingerprint or iris-or with the One Time Password (OTP) authentication.

Also, the new facility “with liveness detection can be used as an additional factor to increase security”, the UIDAI said. Liveness detection enables any system to confirm that the biometric information is provided by a genuine and living person.

According to the UIDAI Aadhaar users need not provide any additional data to use the face recogition service. “The face authentication option will use the photograph available with UIDAI for verification, matching it with a photograph captured by a registered device of an agency at the time of authentication of a person. As cameras are now easily available on laptops and mobile phones, which can be used to photograph a person’s face,” the UIDAI. This will also ensure no additional hardware is needed.

The UIDAI will also help authentication agencies update their systems to accept face recognition. The UIDAI said it would work with biometric devices providers to integrate the face modality into the certified registered devices, or may provide standalone registered devices, depending on the requirement.

It will also provide the software development kits “in various operating systems which will have the ability to capture face image, check liveness, and create digitally signed and encrypted authentication input (PID block) as required.”

The support for the authentication agencies will be rolled out by March 1. The UIDAI also said in the statement that over 1,510 crore authentications have been performed using Aadhaar to date, of which more than 1,045 crore were through biometrics.

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