UIDAI announces Aadhaar Facial Authentication feature; to be launched from 1 July onwards

The UIDAI tweeted that the aim is to especially help all elderly or those who have an issue with the two authentication details.

After Aadhaar Virtual Identity, UIDAI has now announced Face Authentication for Aadhaar card users. According to a tweet by the UIDAI, the services would be launched from 1 July 2018.

Representational image. Courtesy- News18

Representational image. Courtesy- News18

UIDAI aims to solve authentication problem for those who have issues regarding the fingerprint and iris scan. Fingerprint and iris scan were the two biometric details that were stored in the Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR) for verification while applying for an Aadhaar card.

The reason for introducing the Face Authentication feature is to help all elderly people or those who have an issue with the other two authentication details, according to UIDAI.

For facial reference data, the photograph captured during Aadhaar registration can be used as data. And since facial authentication does not need a special hardware, it can be done via mobile or laptop by authentication agencies.

However, UIDAI would be providing registered devices to service providers and authentication agencies. This device would also have a software development kit to enable the security measure. According to UIDAI, the devices would be able to capture "Face image with liveness detection and that can be used as an additional factor to increase security". UIDAI hasn't elaborated on what the 'liveness detection' feature would entail.

UIDAI has also said that like other biometric details which require approval by the UIDAI to enable verification, similar permission would be sought when it comes to facial authentication. This primarily depends upon the kind of service is offered.

Moreover, UIDAI has said that the authentication would require one more added security feature. "Face Authentication shall be allowed ONLY in fusion mode along with one more authentication factor. This means Face Authentication must be combined with either fingerprint or iris or OTP to be able to successfully authenticate an Aadhaar number holder," says the UIDAI circular. 

All authentication agencies would be provided with a circular under which they would have to bring the implementation of the new feature.

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