The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) informed the Supreme Court on Thursday that it will introduce ‘Face ID’ on July 1 to enable Aadhaar holders to authenticate their identity to access services, benefits and subsidies. The Face ID would help people without biometrics or those with poor biometrics to avoid authentication failures and financial exclusion.
The court has repeatedly been referring to how biometric authentication failures had deprived citizens of their rightful entitlements like pension and provident fund. It has highlighted that people with physical disabilities and the mentally challenged may face the danger of financial exclusion.
In a presentation to the Supreme Court, UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey showed photographs of persons with leprosy, senior citizens with poor biometrics and those with physical disabilities accessing benefits through Aadhaar. He said a complete exemption from biometric authentication was provided to persons with leprosy and those whose biometrics were non-existent due to disability or other reasons.
Mr. Pandey drew the court’s attention to Regulation 4 of the Aadhaar (Authentication) Regulations of 2016 which detailed the various modes of authentication. One was verifying demographic details of the Aadhaar-holder, like name, gender and date of birth. The Aadhaar number and demographic information of the Aadhaar number holder was matched with the demographic data in the CIDR.
Secondly, there was the One Time Pin (OTP) based authentication with limited time validity. The PIN was sent to the registered mobile number and/or e-mail address of the Aadhaar number-holder. Then there was the multi-factor authentication, which was a combination of two or more of the modes — biometric or OTP or demographic — for authentication.
The Regulation allows individuals the right to choose a suitable mode(s) of authentication for a particular service or business function to enhance security. However, for the avoidance of doubt, e-KYC authentication should only be carried out using OTP and/or biometric authentication.