Face recognition for Aadhaar authentication soon

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Monday introduced face recognition as additional feature of Aadhaar authentication.

The move will enable easy authentication for those individuals who face a difficulty in other biometric authentication like fingerprint and iris. Face recognition will be used in combination with existing ways such as fingerprint or iris scan.

The facility is being allowed only in a "fusion mode" that is along with other existing means of authentication, and will be available by July 1, 2018, an official release said.

"This facility is going to help in inclusive authentication of those who are not able to biometrically authenticate due to their worn out fingerprints, old age or hard work conditions," the UIDAI said.

The UIDAI had earlier received complaints that elderly with fading fingerprints and aging iris as well as leprosy patients having problems with authentication.

At present, two modes of biometric authentication, fingerprint authentication and iris authentication, are allowed under Aadhaar or one time pass word (OTP).

"The face authentication provides additional option for all residents to have inclusive authentication. It shall 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," the UIDAI said.

The new method will also be allowed "on need basis", the authority clarified.

"As face photo is already available in UIDAI database, there is no need to capture any new data. And since camera is now pervasively available on laptops and mobiles making the face capture easily feasible for authentication agencies without needing any additional hardware. Face authentication with liveness detection can be used as an additional factor to increase security," the notification said.

The camera, said the Aadhaar authority, is now available across laptops and mobiles, which made face capture feasible without any additional hardware.

A senior official in the UIDAI said it will work with biometric device providers to integrate facial modality into the certified registered devices and may also provide standalone registered device service as required by the ecosystem.

The UIDAI will also provide face capture software development kits to authentication users agencies. The authority hopes to release necessary implementation details by March 1.

Last week, the UIDAI announced a new move to secure Aadhaar, in which a randomly-generated 16-digit temporary number can be shared instead of the biometric ID which will come into effect from March 1.

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