UIDAI Allows Facial Recognition As Additional Means Of Aadhaar Authentication

UIDAI Allows Facial Recognition As Additional Means Of Aadhaar AuthenticationAn Alibaba employee demonstrates ‘Smile to Pay’ that uses Facial Recognition to authorise payments (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) today ( 15 January) said that it has allowed facial recognition as an additional method to authenticate a users' Aadhaar which can then be used in combination with the existing fingerprint or iris scan, reports PTI. It is said to enable easier authentication for individuals who currently face issues with the existing biometric authentication methods.

Facial recognition will be available in a “fusion mode” that will work only with one of the existing authentication methods from 1 July, 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.

Currently, the Aadhaar system has three methods of authentication – fingerprint, iris scan or a one-time password (OTP). Facial recognition will be provided only when other methods have failed.

This move comes right after the UIDAI announced the biggest overhaul of the Aadhaar system when it allowed individuals to create and use a virtual ID to avoid sharing their unique identity numbers for authentication.

From March Aadhaar holders will have the option of generating a 16-digit virtual identity mapped to their Aadhaar number which can be used for authenticating their identity. It will be mandatory for all service providers to accept the virtual ID from June.

The UIDAI has issued around 119 crore biometric identifiers so far.

Saurabh Kumar, Additional Private Secretary to the Minister of Electronics and Information Technology tweeted out, saying that the new facial recognition system will be among the largest in the world to be tried out en masse.