IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


19th May, 2023 Science and Technology

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  • The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has developed an artificial-intelligence-based facial recognition tool — called Artificial Intelligence and Facial Recognition powered Solution for Telecom SIM Subscriber Verification (ASTR).

The origins of ASTR

  • In 2012, DoT had issued an order to all telecom operators that they would have to share their subscriber database including users’ pictures with the department.
  • These images constitute the core database on which authorities are running their facial recognition algorithm using ASTR.
  • The ASTR project was conceptualized and designed between April 2021 and July 2021 by the DoT’s unit in Haryana.

How ASTR works

  • Human faces in subscribers’ images are encoded using convolutional neural network (CNN) models in order to account for the tilt and angle of the face, opaqueness and dark colour of the images.
  • After that, a face comparison is carried out for each face against all faces in the database, and similar faces are grouped under one directory.
  • Two faces are concluded to be identical by ASTR if they match to the extent of at least 97.5 per cent.
  • ASTR is capable of detecting all SIMs against a suspected face in less than 10 seconds from a database of 1 crore images.
  • Once the faces are matched, ASTR’s algorithm uses what it describes as “fuzzy logic” to find similarity or approximate matches for the subscriber names.
  • To take a random example of a name, if one were to look up “Apple Inc.”, the algorithm will produce related results including “Apple Incorporated”, “Apple Park”, “iPhone” etc.
  • It also accounts for any typographical errors that might have occurred while the subscriber acquisition form was being filled.
  • The DoT allows an individual to take nine legitimate mobile phone connections using a single identity proof.
  • In essence, what the ASTR does is –

1) it looks up if there are more than nine connections against a single individual’s photograph;

2) it runs a search through the database to see if the same person has taken SIMs under different names. 

Read: https://www.iasgyan.in/blogs/basics-of-artificial-intelligence


Q. The future of artificial intelligence appears bright with continued advancements in technology. What are the main challenges of Artificial Intelligent Technology? Suggest solutions for the same.