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Facial authentication for vaccination not the same as facial recognition: Nandan Nilekani

Aadhaar-based facial authentication used for vaccination drive is not the same as facial recognition, Nandan Nilekani said during Microsoft India's ExpertSpeak event on Tuesday. Nilekani is the former chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and currently non-executive chairman of Infosys Ltd. "What is being used is face authentication, where your photo will be compared when you give your Aadhaar number. It is no different than a fingerprint or Iris or OTP authentication. Facial recognition is scanning a database to look for a person. No such thing is being contemplated," Nilekani said. The Indian government began rolling out an Aadhaar-based facial recognition system for COVID-19 vaccinations earlier this month after piloting the same earlier this month. The pilot was conducted in Jharkhand where over 1000 successful authentications were carried out on daily basis at the vaccination sites. This initiative was set up to make the entire vaccination process "touchless," RS Sharma, chief executive officer of the National Health Authority and former UIDAI chief said then. Following a public backlash due to privacy and exclusion concerns, Sharma clarified that this system is only a proof-of-concept and will not be mandatory. He also stated that this system "involves face authentication and not facial recognition," a similar argument that Nilekani has now stated. What is the difference between facial authentication and facial recognition? In facial authentication, a person's face is captured and compared with the same person's photo in a database to check if they match. It is usually done with the…

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