UIDAI announces Face recognition must for issuing SIMs

UIDAI announces face recognition must for issuing SIMs

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has announced a new measure that seeks to mandate facial recognition – by taking on-the-spot live pictures — for every authentication that requires Aadhaar. Services that most commonly use Aadhaar authentication include issue of mobile SIMs (new or replacement), banks, the public distribution system and office attendance at government offices.

Facial recognition will come in as an additional feature along with the regular process that identifies an individual based on fingerprints or iris (eye) scans.

However, the ‘live face photo’ capture and its verification with the photo obtained in eKYC will be essential only in those cases where Aadhaar is used to issue mobile SIMs. This will especially be beneficial for people who encounter difficulty in authentication due to worn out fingerprints — due to old age or manual labour.

Telecom Service Providers (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,

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 basis of fingerprint or iris.
In case an individual is unable to authenticate fingerprint or iris, face authentication can be used as an additional mode.

The measure is being implemented following ‘official circulars’ by UIDAI (on June 19 and August 17) to Authentication User Agencies (AUAs), Authentication Service Agencies (ASAs), and certified biometric device providers. Failure to follow the process will be treated as a criminal offence by authentication agencies, punishable with imprisonment and fine under Section 42 and 43 of the Aadhaar Act, 2016, sources said.

Reasons to bring facial recognition :- According to the Aadhaar-issuing body, 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.
  • Numerous instances where people have been excluded from Aadhaar authentication as their fingerprints are worn out due to old age, or since they are involved in manual labour or agriculture. This will help include them in the Aadhaar authentication process & making the Aadhaar process ‘more inclusive’.

About UIDAI :-

  • The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is a statutory authority established under the provisions of the Aadhaar Act 2016 by the Government of India, under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
  • UIDAI was created with the objective to issue Unique Identification numbers (UID), named as “Aadhaar”, to all residents of India that is (a) robust enough to eliminate duplicate and fake identities, and (b) can be verified and authenticated in an easy, cost-effective way.
  • Under the Aadhaar Act 2016, UIDAI is responsible for Aadhaar enrolment and authentication, including operation and management of all stages of Aadhaar life cycle, developing the policy, procedure and system for issuing Aadhaar numbers to individuals and perform authentication and also required to ensure the security of identity information and authentication records of individuals.


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