The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is rolling out a new app that will allow citizens to verify their identities with facial recognition. The app is available through the Google Play Store, and has been dubbed Aadhaar FaceRD.
The app is expected to make it easier for Indian citizens to gain access to various government services. To that end, citizens can use the app to link their facial biometrics to their 12-digit Aadhaar number, and to biographic information like their address and their mobile number. Once that registration process is complete, they will be able to use their face as proof of identity during interactions with Aadhaar Authentication User Agencies (AUA).
In that regard, a successful facial recognition scan at an AUA will be enough to recall the necessary identity information from India’s Central Identity Data Repository, which is the database that stores Aadhaar numbers and the associated personal data. Aadhaar FaceRD will be compatible with several government programs, including the Jeevan Praman pension program and the PM-Kisan welfare distribution scheme for farmers. The app will also offer support for scholarships and other resource distribution programs.
The Face Authentication technology being used in the Aadhaar FaceRD app was developed internally by the UIDAI. According to the organization, the app will improve government services since it will enable remote biometric identity verification. In doing so, Aadhaar FaceRD will allow people to participate in government programs without needing to make a trip to a physical office for a fingerprint or iris recognition scan.
While the facial recognition option will almost certainly make things more convenient, it is worth noting that India has struggled with Aadhaar security in the past. A team of researchers recently uncovered a flaw in the PM-Kisan website, and the government had issued (and then retracted) a warning about sharing photocopies of Aadhaar cards. Officials have claimed that leaked Aadhaar data is not a problem due to the use of iris and fingerprint biometrics, but that could change (and create a massive security vulnerability) if UIDAI’s Face Authentication system struggles with deepfakes and other forms of spoofing.
July 19, 2022 – by Eric Weiss