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Face recognition for Aadhaar validation

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Monday said it will enable Aadhaar authentication using face recognition from July 1 onwards. However, this feature will be used only in “fusion mode”, along with one more existing mode of authentication such as fingerprint, iris or one-time password (OTP).

The decision has been taken “so that people facing difficulty in other biometric authentication (fingerprint and Iris) could easily authenticate,” UIDAI said in a statement, adding that some people are not able to biometrically authenticate due to their worn out fingerprints, old age or hard working conditions.

“The face authentication provides additional option for all residents to have inclusive authentication,” it said.

UIDAI emphasised that the new method, which will be allowed on need basis, will “only be allowed only in fusion mode along with one more authentication factor combined with either fingerprint or iris or OTP to be able to successfully authenticate an Aadhaar number holder.”

Virtual ID

The moves comes a few days after UIDAI introduced the concept of a virtual ID, which an Aadhaar holder can use in lieu of his/her Aadhaar number at the time of authentication, and sharing of ‘limited KYC’ with certain agencies. This was aimed at eliminating sharing and storing of Aadhaar numbers.

There is also no need to capture any new reference data. “Camera is now available on laptops and mobiles, making face capture feasible for Authentication User Agencies (AUAs) without any additional hardware. Face authentication with liveness detection can be used as an additional factor to increase security,” it said.

UIDAI will release necessary details for implementation for AUAs by March 1, 2018. It will also provide software development kits that will have the ability to capture face image, check liveness, and create digitally signed and encrypted authentication input.