The UIDAI or Unique Identification Authority of India has allowed face recognition as an additional means of Aadhaar authentication. The new method, called face authentication, will be used in combination with existing ways such as fingerprint or iris scan, the UIDAI said. Face authentication - using the photograph fed into the Aadhaar system at the time of enrolment - will be an optional mode of authentication, in addition to the two existing modes (fingerprint and iris), according to the UIDAI.
— Aadhaar (@UIDAI) January 15, 2018
"Since face photo is already available in UIDAI database there is no need to capture any new reference data at UIDAI CIDR (Central Identities Data Repository)," the UIDAI - the issuer of the 12-digit Aadhaar number or UID as well as Aadhaar card - said in a circular dated January 15. Face authentication as an additional modality to be used "in fusion mode along with fingerprint/iris/OTP" will be available in production for Authentication User Agencies (AUAs) to use by July 1, 2018.
Here are 10 things to know about Aadhaar face recognition:
1. The move is aimed at providing easy authentication for those individuals who face a difficulty in other biometric authentication like fingerprint and iris, the UIDAI said.
2. Face authentication must be combined with either fingerprint or iris or OTP to be able to successfully authenticate an Aadhaar number holder, it added.
3. The new method will also be allowed "on (a) need basis".
4. The UIDAI said it will provide Software Development Kits (SDKs)/Registered Device (RD) services in various operating systems.
5. These "will have the ability to capture face image, check liveness, and create digitally signed and encrypted authentication input (PID block) as required," UIDAI noted.
6. Authentication User Agencies (AUAs), the UIDAI said, will be required "to ensure inclusive authentication, when single modality is not working for specific residents, applications need to enable face capture via RD (registered device) service to capture face photo in addition to fingerprint/iris/OTP".
7. Monday's move comes close on the heels of the biggest overhaul of Aadhaar system by the UIDAI last week when it allowed individuals to create and use a virtual ID to avoid sharing their unique identity numbers, when using government and other services.
8. All AUAs and Registered Device Service Providers are required to comply with the directions issued and process laid down for the purposes of using the authentication facilities provided by the UIDAI.
10. Important dates: The UIDAI will release necessary details for implementation by March 1, 2018. Face authentication as an additional modality to be used in fusion mode along with fingerprint/iris/OTP will be available in production for AUAs to use by July 1, 2018.
What is Aadhaar Authentication?
Aadhaar authentication is the process by which the Aadhaar number along with the demographic information or biometric information of an Aadhaar number holder is submitted to the Central Identifies Data Repository (CIDR) for verification. The CIDR verifies the correctness, or the lack thereof, on the basis of the information available with it.
Aadhaar authentication is being used as the primary identity verification mechanism by many systems such as Banks, Telecom companies, PDS, Income Tax, etc. which are mandated through various laws and also by a number of private entities. (Read more)
Why face authentication
While most of the residents are able to authenticate using fingerprint or iris authentication, some residents face difficulty in successfully using biometric authentication using one of the modalities, the UIDAI said.
The UIDAI also listed the following advantages of face authentication:
Face authentication will provide additional choice to create inclusive authentication for residents having difficulty with their fingerprints/iris authentication
Since face photo is already available in UIDAI database there is no need to capture any new reference data at UIDAI CIDR
Camera is now pervasively available on laptops and mobiles making the face capture easily feasible for AUAs without needing any additional hardware.
Face authentication with liveness detection can be used as an additional factor to increase security.