The Aadhaar will now have a compulsory facial recognition feature along with the biometric fingerprint and the iris identification. This feature will be available from September 15 in a phased manner to Authentication User Agencies (AUAs).
The announcement comes exactly one year after the Supreme Court's ruling on the Indian citizen's Right to Privacy.
The facial recognition feature was approved in March to include the physically challenged and those going through medical treatments who might not be able to get a biometric verification done, according to GQ.
The first phase users of the facial recognition feature would be the telecom users. A report by Firstpost says that in addition to helping the physically challenged, the facial recognition feature will also curb the fingerprint cloning and create extra security mobile SIM cards.
According to a report by the Times of India, buying a new SIM card, authentication at banks or public distribution systems would require on-the-spot live facial verification.
The UIDAI database which already has a photo of the person will verify it from the live photo.
"Combination of live face with fingerprint in authentication will also enhance Aadhaar security as it will effectively curb fingerprint spoofing," UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey told PTI.
"This instruction (for matching live face photo with eKYC photo) will apply only where Aadhaar is used for issuance of SIMs. As per the Telecom Department's instructions, if SIM is issued through other means without Aadhaar, then these instructions will not apply," Pandey went on to say.
The Aadhaar authentication will be a two-factor process. If the individual provides an Aadhaar number, the verification would be fingerprint or iris and a compulsory face verification. If the individual proves a virtual id, the authentication would either be through fingerprints or iris.
After a successful eKYC, a live face photo will also be taken. A circular regarding the facial recognition feature said, "It shall be the responsibility of the TSP that the live photo thus captured shall be verified at their backend system with the photo received in eKYC before activation of the SIM. The TSP shall store both the photos in its database for audit purpose...this process shall be followed for the eKYC performed for all the customers for issuance of SIM cards."
The circular further stated that there will be monetary disincentives for companies which fail to comply with the prescribed norms. The UIDAI said that if the Telecom Service Providers do not meet the prescribed number of face recognition, they will be charged Rs 0.20 per transaction.