At the time of Aadhaar enrolment, photographs of the faces are
also captured and the Aadhaar Authentication API already has the technical ability
for transmitting photographs of the face. Combined with the ubiquitous
availability of cameras, face authentication can make Aadhaar-based authentication
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), a statutory body, under the Ministry
of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), which is responsible for issuing the national ID, Aadhaar, has decided to enable face
authentication for the ID.
According to a circular from UIDAI, the use of face authentication
will be allowed only in combination with one more authentication factor. This
means that face authentication must be combined with either fingerprint or iris
or OTP (one-time password) to be able to successfully authenticate an Aadhaar
Currently, UIDAI provides the fingerprint and iris biometric
authentication to select AUAs
(Authentication User Agency). Similarly, face authentication shall also be
allowed on need basis.
Authentication is the process by which the Aadhaar number, along with the
demographic information or biometric information (fingerprint or iris) of an
Aadhaar number holder is submitted to the Central Identities Data Repository
(CIDR) for its verification. Aadhaar Authentication provides a digital, online
identity platform to verify the identity of Aadhaar number holders instantly
Aadhaar has become the primary identity proof used by Indian
citizens for accessing a range of services from government as well as
non-government entities. Banks, Telecom companies, Public Distribution Systems
(India’s food security system), Income Tax, etc. have been mandated through
various laws to use Aadhaar for identity verification and de-duplication.
Till data, more than 15 billion authentications have been
performed by various Authentication User Agencies (AUAs), out of which more
than 10 billion are biometric transactions.
(AUAs are entities
engaged in providing Aadhaar Enabled Services to Aadhaar number Holder, using
the authentication as facilitated by the Authentication Service Agency (ASA).
An AUA may be government / public / private legal agency registered in India,
that uses Aadhaar authentication services of UIDAI and sends authentication
requests to enable its services / business functions.)
While most of the residents are able to authenticate their identity
using fingerprint or iris authentication, some residents face difficulties, in
situations such as when fingerprints are not clear and difficult to capture.
At the time of Aadhaar enrolment, photographs of the faces
of residents are also captured and the Aadhaar Authentication API already has
the technical ability for transmitting photographs of the face (though this
option is currently not enabled within CIDR). Therefore, face photos can also
be leveraged to verify the identity of a Aadhaar number holder, providing additional
option to create inclusive authentication for residents having difficulty with
their fingerprints/iris authentication, without the need to capture new
reference data at UIDAI CIDR.
Moreover, cameras are now ubiquitous and available on
laptops and mobiles making the face capture easily feasible for AUAs without
needing any additional hardware. “Liveness” detection can be used as an
additional factor to increase security.
UIDAI will work with biometric device providers to integrate
the face modality into the certified registered devices and also may provide
standalone Registered Device (RD) service as required by the ecosystem. UIDAI
will provide Software Development Kits (SDKs) / Registered Device (RD) services
in various operating systems which will have the ability to capture face image,
check liveness, and create digitally signed and encrypted authentication input
(PID block) as required.
When single modality is not working for specific residents, AUAs
will be required ensure that they have applications needed to enable face
capture via RD service to capture face photo in addition to
fingerprint/iris/0TP. They will also have to make the necessary changes, such
as doing validation, auditing, etc. on the AUA server side to process the
encrypted authentication input.
The Registered Device (RD) Service Providers shall be
required to integrate the UIDAI provided face capture SDK into their service
and allow applications to use that option whenever required by the AUA
UIDAI will share technical documents, software development
kits (SDKs), guidelines, and conduct workshops az. training sessions for AUAs
and Registered Device (RD) Service Providers to support changer for enabling
Face Authentication. The necessary details will be released for implementation
by March 1, 2018. Face Authentication as an additional modality to be used in
fusion mode along with fingerprints/ iris/ OTP will be available in production
for AUAs to use by July 1, 2018.
image: Biswarup Ganguly/ CC BY 3.0
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