Polity & Governance Prelims cum Mains

UIDAI announces phased roll-out of facial recognition

The News 

  • Aadhaar-issuing body UIDAI has announced a phased rollout of face recognition feature as an additional mode of authentication.
  • It has also proposed a monetary disincentive for telcos found slipping on the prescribed targets from mid September.

 

Background

  • In June this year, a Hyderabad-based mobile SIM card distributor had forged Aadhaar details for activating thousands of SIMs.
  • Combination of live face with fingerprint in authentication will enhance Aadhaar security as it will effectively curb fingerprint spoofing. Thus the Authority planned to roll out face recognition feature.
  • The live face photo capture and its verification with the photo obtained in e-KYC will be essential in those cases where Aadhaar is used for issuance of mobile SIMs.
  • Therefore, to avoid any inconvenience to public it has been decided to roll out the face authentication in a phased manner.
  • For authentication agencies other than telecom service providers (TSPs), specific instructions will be issued on implementation of face authentication feature, but did not give a fresh deadline.

 

What if any other means than Aadhar is used for issuance of SIMs?

  • This instruction (for matching live face photo with eKYC photo) will apply only where Aadhaar is used for issuance of SIMs.
  • If SIM is issued through other means without Aadhaar, then these instructions will not apply.

 

Authentication

  • 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.
  • UIDAI said in case where an individual is unable to authenticate fingerprint or iris, face authentication can be used as an additional mode, to make the system more inclusive.
  • It shall be the responsibility of the TSP that the live photo thus captured shall be verified at their backend system with the photo received in eKYC before activation of the SIM.
  • The TSP shall store both the photos in its database for audit purpose.

 

Significance of this step:

  • 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.
  • This will also ensure that telcos provide face capture facilities to customers who encounter difficulty in authentication due to worn out fingerprints.

 

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