UIDAI announces plans to add facial recognition to Aadhaar

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has announced the addition of facial recognition to the Aadhaar program to provide more authentication options for users.

Aadhaar has previously implemented fingerprint and iris recognition, along with one-time passwords (OTP) for identity verification. UIDAI notes in a circular (PDF) that it is difficult for some users to use fingerprints or iris scans, and that many Authentication User Agencies (AUAs) have not deployed both modalities.

The enrollment process for Aadhaar has included the collection of a photo of the applicant’s face, and the Aadhaar Authentication API had the capacity for sending facial images, the capacity for matching was not enabled in the Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR).

Cameras capable of capturing facial images are pervasively available, UIDAI says, and liveness detection can be used to enhance authentication security. The agency will supply SDKs and other tools, and work with biometric device providers and AUAs to integrate the modality with certified registered devices and support the necessary changes.

Aadhaar has been used for more than 15 billion authentications by AUAs, of which more than two thirds (10 billion) were biometrics-based transactions, UIDAI says.

UIDAI will release implementation details by March 1, 2018, and face authentication will be available to AUAs by July 1.

As previously reported, UIDAI announced the addition of tokens and temporary ID numbers to the Aadhaar program earlier this month to enhance its privacy protections.

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