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DoT puts facial authentication on hold pending SC Aadhaar verdict

The Department of Telecom has put facial authentication for telcos signing up new users and existing connections. This is because the verdict in the matter challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar may lead to policy changes for e-KYC and use of Aadhaar for issuance of new mobile connections, reports the Economic Times.

In a letter addressed to the UIDAI CEO, the DoT said instructions for implementation of facial authentication should come after the apex court verdict and “after comprehensive re-look on the whole Aadhaar based e-KYC process.”

A five-judge Constitution bench led by CJI Dipak Misra will deliver the verdict in the Aadhaar matter in the near future, since the CJI Misra will retire on October 2.

Telcos say the need time for UIDAI facial authentication

In August, the UIDAI said that telecom companies had to begin facial authentication from September 15, a deadline which no telco seems to have met. The Aadhaar body had, at the time, threatened telcos with a penalty of Rs 0.20 per transaction if they fail to carry out 10% of their monthly authentication transactions only via facial authentication.

Last week, telcos asked the UIDAI to defer the implementation deadline citing that biometric machines were not ready to carry out facial authentication. Operators under the Apex Advisory Council for Telecom in India said that the feature should be implemented two months after the device ecosystem is ready, and that no penalties should be imposed on them till such time, per Business Today.

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UIDAI first spoke about facial authentication in January this year. CEO Ajay Bhushan Panday said that it would help “elderly or others” in Aadhaar authentication. As we reported, facial recognition technology has gone wrong — hackers have broken Apple’s Face ID feature, and besides facial authentication opens a door for government surveillance to maintain a reliable database.

Also read
– UIDAI adds Face Authentication and fresh set of issues with it
– Microsoft calls for regulation of facial recognition technology

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