The Unique Identification Authority of India on Monday said it has decided to enable face recognition to add another layer of security for inclusive authentication for Aadhaar card holders. The service will be launched by July 1, the authority said.

Till now, fingerprint and iris scan were used for authentication. On Monday, the UIDAI said many people were facing difficulties in using fingerprint or iris authentication. Since the photo of the cardholder is also captured at the time of Aadhaar enrolment, “it can be leveraged to verify the identity of a Aadhaar number holder”, the UIDAI said in a statement. “Since face photo is already available in UIDAI database, there is no need to capture any new reference data at UIDAI’s Central Identities Data Repository.”

On January 10, the UIDAI had introduced a two-step verification process to ensure that users will never have to share their Aadhaar numbers, reducing chances of its misuse and increasing privacy. However, on Friday, UIDAI Chief Executive Officer Ajay Bhushan Pandey had said that the introduction of the new process did not mean the system was vulnerable.

However, face authentication will only be allowed along with another authentication tool –either fingerprint, iris scan or OTP authentication. The authority said it will provide face authentication to select Authentication Service Agencies only on need basis.