Authentication Modality for Aadhaar

There are several methods of biometric authentication, with fingerprint and iris being the main solutions for the Aadhaar programme.

Fingerprint Authentication

Fingerprint authentication is a stalwart of biometric authentication, and has been in use for 140 years. In that time it has been proven to be consistent and effective, as no two fingerprints have ever been found to be alike. It is an established form of biometric authentication that is economical to implement at large scale, is easy to use, has a small storage size and is a recognised international standard.

One issue with fingerprint authentication, however, is that while it has a relatively high success rate, it can be easily affected by age, difference in skin elasticity, physical work, accidents or even just acidic substances like pineapple juice. All of this makes it more challenging to obtain legible fingerprints, and regulations such as the Best Finger Detection (BFD) process were implemented to maintain field efficiency.

So how do we overcome this last hurdle of fingerprint authentication? In two words: Iris authentication.

Iris Authentication

The iris is a protected internal organ, meaning it is far less likely to be affected by physical work. It contains 260 unique features compared to 40 in a fingerprint, and is highly stable. From 12 to 18 months after birth, it retains all its features until death, making it the only biometric accurate and stable enough for use from birth until the end of life.

We at Biometronic saw and recognised the potential of what this technology meant for Aadhaar and India when used in conjunction with fingerprint authentication. We conducted field tests between December 2014 and February 2015 in the Adilabad Distrcit in the state of Andhra Pradesh (currently Telangana after the bifurcation of the state) and proved that iris authentication was 3 times faster and more efficient with almost perfect success rates.

  Fingerprint Iris
Max. successful authentications per day/station 104 328
Overall authentication success (%) 90.94% 99.62
Overall failure rate (%) 9.06% 0.38%
First attempt success (%) 77.68% 93.16%
Biometric technology type Contact Contactless
Max. probability for successful authentication 10 2

Our field tests also showed that iris scans also work on blind and disabled candidates.

We hold the key to total inclusion. By using iris together with fingerprint authentication, the False Rejection Rate (FRR) is drastically reduced to an almost negligible rate.

Note: For this graph, the lower the value the better the results. FRR is a value by which a biometric device’s performance is measured on falsely rejecting a user against his enrolled data. Along with False Acceptance Ratio (FAR), the Detection Error Trade-Off (DET) Curves are plotted to give an overall performance of a biometric system.

To achieve and guarantee access to social and financial services for every single Indian, Aadhaar will implement both iris and fingerprint authentication as the best solution through Biometronic.