UIDAI says face recognition will be allowed to authenticate Aadhaar cardholders

The UIDAI added however that face recognition would only be allowed along with either an an iris scan or a fingerpint verification.  Photograph:( Zee News Network )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jan 15, 2018, 09.32 AM (IST)

The Unique Identification Authority of India said Monday that it would also allow for Aadhaar cardholders to be verified by face recognition. 

"At the time of Aadhaar enrolment, photo of the face of resident is also captured. To provide inclusive authentication, face photo can also be leveraged to verify the identity of a Aadhaar number holder," the UIDAI said in a statement.   

The UIDAI currently uses iris scans, fingerprints, and one-time passwords (OTPs) to verify cardholders

There have been reports recently of people not being able to be authenticated by their fingerprints, because age and/ or manual labour has rubbed out over the years. 

The UIDAI added however that face recognition would be allowed only in "fusion mode"; ie along with either an iris scan or a fingerpint verification. 

The UIDAI said the face-recognition verification would be enabled from July onwards. 

Also read: New security layer in Aadhaar is like locking the stable after horses have bolted, says Chidambaram

This does not however mean that Aadhaar cardholders will have to head back to their local UIDAI centres and get photographs of themselves taken. The UIDAI said Monday that since photographs are taken of people at the time they are applying for Aadhaar cards, they already have photographs of all Aadhaar cardholders. 

The facial authentication is also expected to add a further layer of security to Aadhaar cardholders. 

The UIDAI had announced recently that it would be issuing virtual Aadhaar ID numbers -- as an added security measure -- after a news report said Aadhaar details were being sold for as little as Rs 500. 

The UIDAI had filed an FIR against the newspaper and the reporter who had filed the story.