Facial recognition spreads, concern over absence of data protection law

Source: Indian Express

Relevance: Regarding Facial Recognition technology

Synopsis: The greater rush for the use of FRT systems has raised various concerns, despite the strength of justification. Let’s have a brief look into the debate.

Context

Facial recognition technology (FRT) software systems are being installed at some of India’s busiest airports and train stations. The growing list of users of this technology, started with the Home Ministry’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) and various police forces. It now includes the Airports Authority of India, the Indian Railways, public sector utilities, and the state-owned agency etc.

Must read: National Automated Facial Recognition System- Explained point wise
Applications
  • Airport Authority of India under Digi Yatra program, is using this technology
  • Indian Railways plan to install facial recognition tech at railway stations to “identify criminals”
  • The Delhi Police acquired an automated facial recognition software as a tool to identify lost boys and girls by matching photos
  • State-owned NTPC Ltd has started implementing FRT alongside biometrics to capture the attendance of employees. As per NTPC’s policy, consent of employees “shall not be” required for implementation of FRT.
Concerns
  • India does not yet have specific laws with regard to FRT and personal data protection
  • Experts have also flagged the issue of lack of informed consent: Images gathered from CCTV surveillance will also be used to extract particular data points such as the facial features etc. An individual might not have consented to sharing these when entering a CCTV-surveilled zone. These data points can be used to track future movements of the person.

Note: This article contains only those new points which haven’t been covered in our 7PM article on NAFRS. So, kindly go through that first.

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