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Aadhaar Gets Face Authentication, Will Be Launched by July 1: UIDAI

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The Aadhaar authentication has been carried out with biometrics like fingerprints and iris scans, apart from OTP based authentication, and now, it’s getting a new way of using biometrics – face authentication. In a circular dated January 15, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) sent out information about the implementation of face authentication, and UIDAI CEO Dr. Ajay Bhushan Pandey also tweeted about it. The reasoning for this is explained as making the Aadhaar more accessible for people who can’t, for any reason, use fingerprints or iris authentication. “Some residents face difficulty in successfully using biometric authentication using one of the modalities,” the circular reads. “While residents can use either fingerprint or iris authentication when both devices are available, many AUAs [Authentication User Agencies] have not yet deployed both types of devices for their use.”

In many places, the Aadhaar authentication is being carried out with fingerprint readers, which has caused problems in a number of cases, for example with the elderly and manual labourers finding their fingerprints not properly readable. To get around this, the UIDAI says it can use the photo captured at the time of enrolment for identity verification. “While Aadhaar Authentication API had the technical provision for sending photo of the face, this option is currently not enabled within CIDR [Central Identities Database Repository],” the circular states. “Since face photo is already available in UIDAI database, there is no need to capture any new reference data at UIDAI CIDR.” This means that the data already captured serves the purpose, and the checks are also going to pose no problem, the UIDAI circular states, because “Camera is now pervasively available on laptops and mobiles making the face capture easily feasible for AUAs without needing any additional hardware.” According to the circular, Face Authentication as an additional modality to be used in fusion mode will be available by July 1.

“Face authentication with liveness detection can be used as an additional factor to increase security,” it adds. In other words, face recognition is not being considered secure enough by itself – “Face Authentication shall be allowed ONLY in fusion mode, along with one more authentication factor. This means Face Authentication must be combined with either fingerprint, or iris, or OTP to be able to successfully authenticate an Aadhaar number holder.”

 

The circular doesn’t talk about whether the UIDAI is developing the photo authentication technology in-house or sourcing it from anywhere. It states: “UIDAI will provide Software Development Kits (SDKs) / Registered Device (RD) services in various operating systems which will have the ability to capture face image, check liveness, and create digital signed and encrypted authentication input as required.”

The UIDAI will start sharing these kids, and holding workshops and training sessions, starting with the sharing of “necessary details” from March 1 – and as mentioned above, the actual deployment is supposed to start by July 1.
Some experts are already expressing concerns with the decision to use face recognition, saying it has been circumvented through fairly simple tricks including just using a photograph of the person.

“Although adding an extra layer of security for Aadhar card holders seems to be a good initiative, adding facial recognition might not do much good as not only it isn’t too difficult to replicate as compared to other biometrics,” says Ankush Johar, Director, Infosec Ventures, a company that provides infrastructure security solutions for commercial and government clients. “But also the major problem lies in the source of the images used as the authentication mechanism. The photographs captured nearly half a decade back with an extremely low resolution camera stands hardly any chance given that hackers were able to bypass even the 3D face model recognition developed by one of the biggest tech pioneers.”

A tender by the Madhya Pradesh government shows that Aadhaar photos were taken using webcams of “2-megapixels or better”, or tablets of “5-megapixels or better”. These low resolution images, which would also be very outdated by now, make for a poor choice, adds Johar.


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Samsung Galaxy A80 With Rotating Camera, In-Display Fingerprint Sensor Launched

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Samsung Galaxy A80 was launched on Wednesday at an event in Thailand. It features a 48-megapixel primary camera. The Galaxy A80 also sports a full-HD+ Super AMOLED display and comes with Dolby Atmos audio integration. The Android Pie-based Samsung phone comes with an in-display fingerprint sensor. Of course, the biggest highlight of the Samsung Galaxy A80 is its rotating camera – the form factor helps in two ways, first, enabling a notchless display, and second, making the high resolution rear camera usable for selfies. The company is also touting the ‘intelligent battery’ that learns the user’s routine to optimise battery life, and also supports 25W ‘Super-Fast Charging’ tech. At the launch event, Samsung also revealed the availability of the Galaxy A70 it had unveiled last week. Read on for more details about the Samsung Galaxy A80 price, release date, specifications, and more.

Samsung Galaxy A80 price, release date

The Samsung Galaxy A80 price has been set at EUR 649 (roughly Rs. 50,500). The company added the smartphone will be available in Angel Gold, Ghost White, and Phantom Black colour variants, with the first two having pearlescent effects. The Samsung Galaxy A80 will go on sale from May 29, in markets across Asia, Australia, China, Europe, Hong Kong, Middle East, New Zealand, and Russia. We can expect the Samsung Galaxy A80 price in India to be along the same lines as Europe pricing, though for now, an India release date has not been specified.

 

At the launch event, Samsung also announced the availability of the Samsung Galaxy A70 that it had unveiled last week. It will go on sale from April 26, in Black, Blue, Coral, and White colour variants.

Samsung Galaxy A80 specifications

The dual-SIM Samsung Galaxy A80 runs Android 9.0 Pie with the company’s One UI on top. It sports a 6.7-inch full-HD+ (1080×2400 pixels) Super AMOLED ‘New Infinity Display’ with a 20:9 aspect ratio and no notch. It is powered by the newly unveiled Snapdragon 730G SoC, an octa-core processor with two cores clocked at 2.2GHz and six cores clocked at 1.7GHz. This is coupled with 8GB of RAM. The smartphone sports an in-display fingerprint sensor.

Coming to the highlight of the smartphone, it’s rotating camera with a triple camera setup. It features a 48-megapixel primary sensor with an f/2.0 aperture, a secondary 8-megapixel camera with an ultra wide-angle lens (123-degrees), an f/2.2 aperture. There is also a 3D depth camera on board. An IR sensor rounds off the optics. As for selfies, when the user selects selfie mode, the three cameras automatically pop-up and rotate to the front. Other features on the Samsung Galaxy A80 include Super Steady video mode, Scene Optimizer with detection for 30 scenes, and Flaw Detection.

There is 128GB of inbuilt storage, which isn’t expandable via microSD card. The Samsung Galaxy A80 sports a 3,700mAh battery with 25W Super-Fast Charging support. It measures 165.2×76.5×9.3mm. Other features on the smartphone include Bixby, Samsung Pay, Samsung Health, and Samsung Knox. The company is also boasting of an Intelligent Performance Enhancer that uses AI for performance optimisation. The Bixby Routines feature looks to automate daily tasks by learning user patterns.

Finally, the Galaxy A80 also features Dolby Atmos technology for improved audio output with headphones or Bluetooth speakers.

Commenting on the launch, DJ Koh, President and CEO of IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics, said, “The Galaxy A Series provides a range of models so everyone can choose a device that fits their unique needs and enables them to pursue their passions. The Galaxy A80 offers premium features for digital natives who want to fully engage in the Era of Live.”

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Acer Nitro 7 Slim Gaming Laptop Launched, Nitro 5 Series for Casual Gamers Updated

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At Acer’s annual hardware event, the company has launched a bunch of new products, while refreshing some of its existing lineup. One of the new launches is the Acer Nitro 7 gaming laptop, which boasts of a metal design, a slim body measuring 19.9mm in thickness, and up to seven hours of battery life. The company has also refreshed its existing Nitro 5 gaming laptop, which now boasts of an 80 percent screen-to-body ratio thanks to the 7.18mm narrow display bezels.

Both the Acer laptops share many of the underlying technologies such as CoolBoost, which features a dual exhaust system for keeping temperatures down when gaming. The NitroSense software allows users to visualise component temperature, loading performance, power usage, and more on both series. The Nitro 7 and Nitro 5 also feature Killer Ethernet E2500 networking card and Acer’s Network Optimizer to prioritise gaming traffic and Waves MaxxAudio for better sound.

Acer Nitro 7 specifications, pricing and availability

 

The new Nitro 7 features a metal chassis that is less than 20mm in thickness, making it quite slim. It features a 15.6-inch display with 144Hz refresh rate and a 3ms response time. It’s powered by 9th generation Intel Core CPUs and the latest Nvidia GPUs, up to two NVMe PCIe SSDs in RAID 0 with up to 2TB of mechanical storage and up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM.

The Acer Nitro 7 is available now in the US, starting at $1,000 (roughly Rs. 69,500). It will also be available in China and EMEA regions starting May and June respectively.

Acer Nitro 5 specifications, pricing and availability

The Acer Nitro 5 is available with a full-HD IPS panel in either a 17.3-inch size with slim borders or a 15.6-inch display size. It too packs in the latest 9th generation Intel Core processors, latest Nvidia GPUs, up to two NVMe PCIe SSDs in RAID 0, up to 32GB of RAM and Wi-Fi 802.11ac with 2×2 MU-MIMO antennas.

The Acer Nitro 5 is available from April in the US for a starting price of $800 (roughly Rs. 55,650). It will also be available in China and EMEA regions from May 2019.

Finally, Acer also announced the Nitro Stream, which is a dedicated streaming PC with a built-in capture card for streaming PC and console games. Specifications include an 8th generation Intel Core i7 CPU, up to 32GB of RAM, 256SSD and a in-built capture card. The PC is also compact enough to be mounted at the back of a monitor using the VESA mount standard. Pricing details and availability aren’t mentioned as of now.

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Google Home Can Now Remotely Enable Do Not Disturb Mode on Phones

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Google has quietly rolled out a new feature and a behavioural change for the Google Assistant on Google Home smart speakers. Starting with the new feature, users can now activate the Do Not Disturb mode on their smartphone by just saying asking the Google Home speaker to do so via relevant voice command. As for the behavioural change, the Google Home no longer vocally recites every step it is performing that is part of a routine set by users. However, it is not clear when the aforesaid changes went live.

Android Police reports that the Google Home no longer recites every single step of a routine. Earlier, the Google Assistant would alert users about every step of a routine that was in progress. But now, individual steps in a pre-specified routine are not accompanied by a vocal cue every time a routine is executed. However, individual commands that need the Google Assistant to respond vocally as well as standalone actions will still be accompanied by a vocal response.

Moreover, another report from Android Police states that the Google Assistant will now enable the Do Not Disturb mode on a linked smartphone via relevant voice command. For example, users can ask the Google Home to “silence my phone” or “activate DND mode on my phone” to enable the Do Not Disturb mode.

 

But in case the Google account being used for the Google Home is linked to multiple smartphones, users will have to specify the device, on which they want to enable the DND mode. As per Google’s support page, users can also choose to activate DND mode on all devices in a network via voice command. However, it is not clear when the aforementioned changes went live, or if it is available to only a small set of users in certain regions.

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