Have you linked your Aadhaar with your SIM card? If you have, then you may be made to undergo a face authentication — an alarming expansion of UIDAI’s biometric verification programme.
- Early this year, telecom operators had pestered users by urging them to link their Aadhaar number with SIM cards. Many retailers, too, have been refusing to issue new SIM cards without the submission of Aadhaar number — a violation of the Supreme Court order. Ultimately, the government had to issue an order against this.
- Now, UIDAI has asked telecom operators to verify the identity of those who have indeed linked their Aadhaar to SIM card through “face authentication” — a “live face photo” will be taken and verified with the photo that a user had submitted during the initial KYC procedure. (But isn’t Aadhaar supposed to be an identity verification in itself?). UIDAI has asked telecom operators to complete at least 10% of the process by September 15, or be ready to pay a fine. Which means telcos would now hound you to undergo the process.
- Though, at the outset, the procedure’s stated aim is to verify a “live photo” with the one submitted, there is no clarity on the device and software that would be used to conduct this. This matters because…
- Face recognition data has a wider scope for misuse than iris or fingerprint, where you need to make contact with a device (fingerprint) or look at a device from a close distance (iris) for anyone to carry out an identity verification. Face recognition, on the other hand, can be carried out from a distance — even by a high-resolution CCTV camera (Thus favoured by China).