UIDAI Aadhaar Card Face Recognition: The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the Aadhaar-issuing body, has made it mandatory for telecom services to authenticate a tenth of their customers using face recognition. This will be implemented for telecom services from September 15.
The first circular around the implementation of facial authentication was issued in January 2018 and the option was supposed to roll out from July 1. But the date was later pushed back to August 1. It will now appear as an option from September 15, but only for telecom service providers for now.
According to UIDAI’s latest circular, the phase rollout is because not all Aadhaar Authentication User Agencies (AUAs) are ready in terms of devices for Face Recognition.
“TSPs are hereby directed that with effect from September 15, 2018 at least 10 per cent of their total monthly authentication transactions shall be performed using face authentication in this manner. Any shortfall in transactions using face authentication would be charged at Rs 0.20 per transaction,” said a UIDAI circular.
So what is face authentication in Aadhaar, and how will it work? Here’s a quick look
In simple terms, face authentication means the user’s photo will be captured and compared with the one in the Aadhaar database. At the time of getting an Aadhaar card, all users have their photo taken, which will now be matched in the eKYC process for issuing SIMs on the basis of Aadhaar cards.
According to a PTI report, UIDAI has said telecom service providers will have to take a photo of the user and send this for authentication in their registered device, which is being used to complete the eKYC process.
The TSP will have to store the photo captured for face authentication, and ensure that the live photo matches the one in the e-KYC before activating the SIM. The TSP will have to store both the photos in its database for audit purpose. TSPs who fail to follow this can invite financial disincentive, notes the circular.
Keep in mind that the face recognition verification is only required where a mobile SIM is being issued on the basis of Aadhaar cards. Where Aadhaar card is not being used to issue SIM, this rule does not apply.
“This instruction (for matching live face photo with eKYC photo) will apply only where Aadhaar is used for issuance of SIMs. As per Telecom Department’s instructions, if SIM is issued through other means without Aadhaar, then these instructions will not apply,” UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey told PTI.
Why is face recognition being rolled out for TSPs?
UIDAI says the move is aimed at curbing the possibility of fingerprint spoofing or cloning. The idea of face recognition when it was originally announced is also to make the process of eKYC more inclusive, and give more choices, especially in cases where residents have a problem with iris scan or fingerprint authentication.
However, face recognition will be part of a two-factor authentication by TSPs. The first will be verification via fingerprint or iris, and second will be the face recognition. In case where users are not able to authenticate via fingerprint or iris, the TSP will have to use face recognition.
The idea is to increase security around issuing and activation of mobile SIMs. This will ensure that a SIM is not issued to someone by just verifying the fingerprint, but also matching the face, according to UIDAI’s circular.
In its original order, UIDAI had said in January 2018, that face authentication will have to be combined with another mode of verification for Aadhaar. This can be iris, fingerprint or OTP, according to the January 2018 circular.
With PTI inputs