Published On: Sat, Aug 18th, 2018

UIDAI announces phased roll out of face authentication with telcos from Sept 15

New Delhi: The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has finally announced a phased roll out of face recognition feature as an additional mode of authentication, starting with telecom service providers, from September 15.

UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey

The Authority had earlier planned to roll out the face recognition feature from July 1, a target later pushed to August 1. It has also proposed a monetary disincentive for telcos found slipping on the prescribed targets from the middle of next month. For authentication agencies other than telecom service providers, the UIDAI said specific instructions will be issued on implementation of face authentication feature, but did not give a new deadline.

Significantly, the UIDAI further said that ‘live face photo’ capture and its verification with the photo obtained in eKYC will be essential in those cases where Aadhaar is used for issuing mobile SIMs. The move aims 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.

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 issuing SIMs. According to the telecom department’s instructions, if SIM is issued through other means without Aadhaar, these instructions will not apply,” according to UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey.

The UIDAI has proposed a two-factor authentication for use of face recognition by telcos. Where an individual provides the Aadhaar number, the authentication will be done using fingerprint or iris and face. For individuals providing Virtual ID, the authentication can be on the basis of fingerprint or iris. In case an individual is unable to authenticate fingerprint or iris, face authentication can be used as an additional mode to make the system more inclusive.

“TSPs are hereby directed that with effect from 15 September 2018, at least 10% 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,” according to the UIDAI circular. After successful eKYC authentication, operators will capture the live face photo , over and above the photo captured for face authentication.


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