The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has communicated information to the public that India’s facial recognition software, which has been in its developmental phase is now a foolproof system and has successfully completed it’s various test as well. This facial recognition system which is in progress to be installed nationwide, will prove itself as a major benefactor to catch criminals and missing children. To speak of its glory, with the use of a facial recognition system, Delhi Police has been able to track and identity about 3000 missing children in just a span of four days of its trial.
It has been an urgent need for India to step it’s game with their coach called technology. Moving a step forward from it’s preliminary stages, India is now bootstrapped for the FRS (Facial Recognition System) to work full fledged. India’s National Crime Bureau remarked about the new FRS system as “modernizing the police force, information gathering, criminal identification, verification”.
The brilliant law and order reinforcement measure that the FRS is, will fall among those largest facial recognition systems in the world. However, the whereabouts of where the technology would be put to use, for what purpose and in which location is yet to be disclosed.
As per a talk with Thomas Reuters Foundation, executive director of Internet Freedom Foundation, Apart Gupta goes on to comment on the hidden nuances, “It is a mass surveillance system that gathers data in public places without there being an underlying cause to do so. Without a data protection law and an electronic surveillance framework, it can lead to social policing and control,”.
Consider this step of introducing the nation to FRS as a wave of artificial intelligence and cloud computing that has taken the world further into the future. This facial recognition system can be judiciously be made use of to catch criminals and the anti elements alike.
With a massive success rate in its trial period itself, this FRS is bound for greater good. A new launch like itself, this system will further strengthen a country like India being severely under-policed. The figures are staggering as for each 10,0000 citizens there are only 144 police officers. This is a shameful figure and this ration falls among the lowest in the world, as per the United Nations.
There are however several drawbacks to using this system too. It has yielded ineffective in identifying women of color, transgenders and those hailing from the ethnic minority groups. Adding to this list, the hazardous use of this technology when in the wrong hands can give power to those who can bend this sensitive information to meet their own selfish interests. Plus there is no way to make out where this data will be used and should it be even considered empowering the citizens or as a new instrument for governance.
The Concern For Data Privacy
Looking at the installation of a facial recognition system nationwide, there is growing curiosity among the masses as experts countrywide, worry about the absence of laws that would govern this entire FRS system. India does not have a law in place that curtails on the extent to which this FRS data can be used. To address the increasing queries of the masses, the Home Ministry made it public via a statement that the database collected through the facial recognition system will be merely used to track and monitor those individuals on the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network Systems (CCTNS). This CCTNS is an in-depth database of Indian criminals. A statement by the Ministry official said, “This software will be used only be used only in respect of such persons persons who figure on the CCTNS database – accused persons, prisoners, missing persons, unidentified people including children and dead bodies — and will not be used for any other database.”
Many Cyber law experts are also of the opinion that such a powerful system in place nationwide, without a regulator framework controlling it, can hamper people’s privacy. Also as per the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 there are no specific mentions of a facial recognition technology.
Besides these safety and privacy concerns, there are high chances of misidentification, as the FRS is only a near accurate technology. No rules are in order if a person is held and deemed misidentified thereafter.
Via- Economic Times