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Aadhaar face recognition could be made mandatory for COVID vaccination, pilot testing is on

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Aadhaar face recognition could be made mandatory for COVID vaccination, pilot testing is on
India Today

National Health Authority CEO RS Sharma in a recent interview said that UIDAI has deployed the “best facial recognition algorithms” that it will start utilising in the future. A pilot has been launched in Jharkhand where over 1000 authentications take place via facial recognition.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The government will soon roll out facial recognition technology at Covid 19 vaccination sites.
  • It has piloted the touchless facial recognition system in Jharkhand where 1000 authentications take place daily.
  • NHA CEO RS Sharma said that the facial recognition system is touchless as against the current biometric system that requires people to touch the equipment, increasing the risk of the virus.

The government is working on an Aadhaar-based touchless facial recognition system for COVID 19 vaccine beneficiaries. It has started testing the facial recognition technology to replace the current biometric system that requires citizens to submit their fingerprints and iris scans at Covid vaccination sites. National Health Authority CEO RS Sharma in an interview noted that the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has deployed the “best facial recognition algorithms” that it will start utilising in the future.

He emphasised the procedure being touchless as against the current system that requires people to touch fingers at the machine for biometric authentication, and also for iris scans, increasing the risk of spreading the virus. The National Health Authority on Twitter quoted Sharma’s interview in which he claims that facial recognition technology would be rolled out at all vaccination centres in the near future.

“UIDAI’s facial recognition algorithms will soon be rolled out at all vaccination centres. A pilot was launched in Jharkhand, there we have been conducting more than 1,000 authentications via facial recognition on a daily basis, says @rssharma3” the NHA tweeted.

Speaking to The Print, Sharma, who is the former chief of UIDAI said “Imagine a person who generated their Aadhaar card in 2011. Even after a decade, the software is able to recognise the face. Once we do about 50,000 to 60,000 facial authentications under the pilot, we will roll it out across the country.”

Last year, the UIDAI was looking at facial recognition’s functionality for financial services that require Aadhaar, which uses live detection that allows a facial recognition system to ascertain that the face being shown to the camera is a real face and not another image on a separate screen.

Digital liberties organisations like the Internet Freedom Foundation have filed Right To Information (RTI)’s seeking information from the government about its plans in the use of facial recognition technology in the country. It has noted that the technology brings in a lot of concerns about privacy and claimed that even globally, no facial recognition technology is 100 per cent accurate.

Earlier this month, an Uber driver claimed that he failed to log in to his account after he returned from a pilgrimage, cutting his hair and shaving his beard. The Indian Federation of App-Based Transport Workers (IFAT) blamed Uber’s algorithm and facial recognition technology that failed to recognise the driver depriving him of his only income. Uber, however, denied the claims saying that he was banned from the Uber network because he repeatedly violated community guidelines.

 

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