Aadhaar Current Affairs
Aadhaar-issuing body UIDAI (Unique Identity Authority of India) has announced phased roll-out of face recognition for carrying out Aadhaar authentication from September 15, 2018 as additional security layer. It also has announced new feature ‘live face photo,’ which is live feed of person facial features whose 12-digit unique number Aadhaar is submitted.
The face authentication will be in addition to fingerprint or iris scans for Aadhaar authentication. In initial phase, telecom service providers (TSPs) will be first to use face recognition to authenticate subscribers while issuing new SIM cards. In later phases, it will be rolled out to all agencies using Aadhaar for authentication in phases.
This move is aimed at curbing possibility of fingerprint cloning or spoofing and also seeks to tighten audit process and security around the issuance and activation of mobile SIMs. It will also help to solve authentication problem for those who have issues regarding fingerprint and iris scan. Fingerprints wear out either with person’s old age or due to jobs such as heavy manual labour.
Directions to TSPs
UIDAI has directed TSPs to target at least 10% of their total monthly authentication transactions using face authentication. Any shortfall in transactions using face authentication will be charged at Rs 0.20 per transaction. It will be responsibility of TSPs to verify live photo captured using face authentication at their backend system with photo received in eKYC (electronic know your customer) before activation of SIM. TSP will store both photos in its database for audit purpose.
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has notified that use of Aadhaar biometric data for criminal investigation is not allowed under Aadhaar Act, 2016. This comes after National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) Director Ish Kumar made strong pitch for police to be provided with limited access to Aadhaar data to aide them in catching first-time offenders and for identification of unidentified bodies.
As per Section 29 of the Aadhaar Act, the biometrics data collected by UIDAI can be used only for purpose of generating Aadhaar and for authentication of identity of Aadhaar holders and cannot be used for any other purpose. The very limited exception to this is allowed under Section 33 of Aadhaar Act, which permits use of or access to Aadhaar biometric data in cases involving national security only after pre-authorisation by oversight committee headed by Cabinet Secretary. This is also consistent stand taken by Union Government in ongoing Aadhaar case in the Supreme Court. Based on this legal stance, UIDAI has never shared any biometric data with any crime investigating agency.
The NCRB Director at the 19th All India Conference of Directors of Finger Prints Bureau in Hyderabad had said that limited access to Aadhaar data was needed to be given to police for purpose of catching first time offenders and for identification of unidentified bodies. At present around 50 lakh cases were registered every year in the country and most of them (80 to 85%) are committed by first time offenders who leave their fingerprints, which are available in police records. So there is need for access to Aadhaar data to police for purpose of investigation.