India regulator halts facial biometrics requirements for SIM registration pending imminent court ruling

India’s Department of Telecom (DoT) has decided that facial authentication will not be implemented as a modality for Aadhaar e-KYC checks, pending a Supreme Court decision on the identity scheme’s legal standing, The Economic Times reports.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) pushed back the launch of Aadhaar facial authentication earlier this year to give stakeholders more time, and had set a deadline of September 15 for telecom vendors to use facial biometrics for a minimum of 10 percent of SIM card registrations.

The DoT delivered a letter to UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey dated September 19, however, in which it said it will not move forward with the implementation, as the Economic Times reports the Supreme Court will rule on a raft of challenges to the Aadhaar program and its various aspects by the end of the month. The decision may involve a comprehensive re-evaluation of the entire Aadhaar-based e-KYC process, according to the DoT letter, and the regulator will await the decision before issuing further instructions.

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