NEW DELHI: After extending the deadline twice, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the Aadhaar issuing body, is all set to roll out, in a phased manner, the facial recognition feature as an additional mode of authentication from September 15. The new feature will be first implemented for telecom service providers (TSPs).“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.
The UIDAI aims to curb the possibility of fingerprint cloning with the soon-to-be-added feature. In June, a Hyderabad-based mobile SIM card distributor was found forging Aadhaar details for activating thousands of SIMs. The instruction for matching the live photo of the face with the eKYC photo will be applicable only when Aadhaar is used for issuance of SIMs. If the SIM is issued through other means, without Aadhaar, then the instruction will not apply. The telecom department had earlier said that the 12-digit number was not mandatory for getting a SIM card.
The UIDAI said that in situations where an individual was unable to authenticate the fingerprint or iris, facial authentication could be used as an additional mode, to make the system more inclusive. Ajay Bhushan Pandey, CEO of UIDAI, said this would ensure that telcos provide face capture facilities to customers who encounter difficulty in authentication due to worn out fingerprints.
Many beneficiaries are denied the benefit of various welfare programmes as their fingerprints do not match the data stored in the database of UIDAI. For authentication agencies other than TSPs, the UIDAI said specific instructions would be issued on implementation of the face authentication feature.On the extension of the previous deadline, UIDAI said that since a few device providers were not ready, Authentication User Agencies could not have implemented face authentication.