Face recognition now must for verification to link Aadhaar

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The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has now made face recognition a must in order to verify in case users would want to link Aadhaar with various welfare schemes including bank accounts and other government schemes. The authentication will happen by taking on-the-spot pictures in addition to the photo submitted for KYC formalities.

The measure is being implemented following ‘official circulars’ sent by UIDAI (on June 19 and August 17) to Authentication User Agencies (AUAs), Authentication Service Agencies (ASAs), and certified biometric device providers, according to a report published in the Times of India.

Citing sources, the report further stated that the failure to follow the process will be treated as a criminal offence by authentication agencies, punishable with imprisonment and fine under Section 42 and 43 of the Aadhaar Act, 2016.

UIDAI said 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.

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It may be recalled that in June this year, a Hyderabad-based mobile SIM card distributor had forged Aadhaar details for activating thousands of SIMs.

“This instruction (for matching live face photo with eKYC photo) will apply only where Aadhaar is used for issuance of SIMs. As per Telecom Department’s instructions, if SIM is issued through other means without Aadhaar, then these instructions will not apply,” UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey told PTI.

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.