DeitY Wants Iris Scanners On All Phones Sold In India. Does It Make Any Sense?


IRIS Scanner

The Department of Electronics and IT (DeitY) in India now wants all mobile phones sold in India to have built-in iris scanners. DeitY is currently holding discussions with its stakeholders, post that it would force all brands selling phones to include iris scanner in each and every phone that it would sell within the confines of India.

The organization has confirmed the same by retweeting a tweet posted by MP Ajay Kumar.

DeitY is the same organization that enforced the installation of a fingerprint scanner along with two to three iris-scanners in each central and state Govt. office in Delhi in January this year. The scanners installed in such offices would use the bio-metric data registered while enrolling for Aadhar facility for verifying the attendance of government employees. The estimated cost of each iris-scanner installed in govt. offices was around Rs. 3,500.

Iris Scanner In Each Phone! Does It Make Any Sense?

Since the iris scanners installed in each government office would serve hundreds of people, the initial cost of Rs. 3,500 doesn’t sound too much. But having an iris-scanner in each phone serving a single person sounds like a super-expensive deal to me.

It would require a really great front camera with depth calculations, if the manufacturers plan on doing iris scanning using the front cam. And if they plan to include a dedicated hardware in phones for taking iris scans, then it would result in a significant hike in phone prices, which would not be a good thing.

I’m unable to understand what the DeitY is thinking at the moment but such a move sure sounds silly to me, unless it persuades the government to subsidize the price hike, of course.

If implemented, India would be the first nation in the world forcing the implementation of iris scanning feature in smartphones.

We have all seen how insecure the facial recognition tech was when it was first baked into Android 4.0 aka Ice Cream Sandwich OS. The technology improved a lot with further iterations in due course of time, but the iris-recognition tech in smartphones is still in a nascent stage with only one popular manufacturer- Fujitsu working on it.

So, it wouldn’t be a wise decision to force all smartphone makers to embed iris scanners into their phones at this point of time.

The default security measures like PIN lock in Android OS are very effective at keeping user data safe, but if DeitY is forcing iris-scanning tech. in smartphones only keeping its ease of use in mind, then it should probably wait for a couple of years till the technology gets mature and cheap enough to be implemented in all phones.

Do you think that the current generation of iris-scanners would be more useful and secure than the PIN lock and fingerprint scanners? I don’t.

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