New Delhi: In a bid to provide an extra security layer, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has announced making facial recognition compulsory, under which on-the-spot live pictures will be taken for every authentication that requires Aadhaar, The Times of India reported. This will come as an additional measure along with the regular process that identifies an individual based on fingerprints or iris (eye) scans, the daily further said.
Services like purchasing a new mobile SIM, bank account opening, the public distribution system, office attendance at government offices, which commonly use Aadhaar authentication will now have to implement this added security feature.
The ToI report citing sources said this 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 adding that failure to comply to this will be treated as a criminal offence by authentication agencies and will be punishable with imprisonment and fine under Section 42 and 43 of the Aadhaar Act, 2016.
“There have been 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,” the ToI report quoted UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey as saying.
However, the latest authentication process to be implemented in phases and would initially be mandated for providers of SIM cards of telecom companies, Pandey further told the daily.
Telecom operators have been directed that with effect from September 15 of this year, at least 10 per cent of their total monthly authentication transactions should be performed using facial recognition. Any shortfall in transactions using face authentication would face a penalty, at 20 paise per transaction, the ToI report added.
“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,” the UIDAI CEO was quoted as saying by ToI.
How will the new system work
UIDAI CEO told ToI that whenever an individual would seek authentication based on Aadhaar, the authorised machine/device being used for the purpose would also capture a picture of the face of the individual following which the picture, along with the fingerprint or iris scan, would be sent to UIDAI. The Aadhaar body will verify the details on its database and will send a confirmation if the authenticity of the individual (based on facial and fingerprint/iris confirmations) is proved.