Aadhaar Card Issues

UIDAI announces phased roll-out of facial recognition


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Live Face Photo

Mains level:  Making user authentication process more stringent to curb illegal activities.


Facial Recognition for SIM cards

  1. UIDAI has announced the phased roll-out of face recognition feature as an additional mode of authentication, starting with telecom service providers from September 15.
  2. UIDAI has said ‘live face photo’ capture and its verification with the photo obtained in eKYC will be essential in those cases where Aadhaar is used for issuance of mobile SIMs.
  3. As per the Telecom Department’s instructions, if SIM is issued through other means without Aadhaar, then these instructions will not apply.

More responsibility to TSPs

  1. The TSP will have to store the photo captured for face authentication, and ensure that the live photo matches the one in the e-KYC before activating the SIM.
  2. The TSP will have to store both the photos in its database for audit purpose.
  3. But, not all Aadhaar Authentication User Agencies (AUAs) are ready in terms of devices for Face Recognition.

Monetary disincentive to Telecos

  1. It has also proposed a monetary disincentive for telcom companies found deficient on the prescribed targets from the middle of next month.
  2. Any shortfall in transactions using face authentication would be charged at Rs 0.20 per transaction.
  3. For authentication agencies other than telecom service providers (TSPs), UIDAI said specific instructions will be issued on the implementation of face authentication feature, but did not give a fresh deadline.

Making authentication more stringent

  1. The move is aimed at curbing the possibility of fingerprint spoofing or cloning, and seeks to tighten the audit process and security around the issuance and activation of mobile SIMs.
  2. In June, a Hyderabad-based mobile SIM card distributor had forged Aadhaar details for activating thousands of SIMs.
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