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India extends deadline for facial biometrics bids as systems around the world seek clarity


India’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has extended the deadline for bids on participation in its centralized automatic facial recognition system (AFRS) from September 13 to October 11 to allow Indian biometrics companies time to prepare their submissions, Media Nama reports.

The report is based on minutes of the meeting acquired by the Internet Freedom Foundation, which Tweeted the document, which notes that many queries from the roughly 80 participating vendors in the July 25 meeting were not direct, and will have to be answered in information posted to the NCRB website.

The NCRB has been criticized for setting requirements that very few domestic technology providers can meet, and participants requested that the turnover criteria be reduced, and for companies to be able to group into consortiums of three to bid, rather than the limit of two prescribed by the RFP.

Participants asked questions about the future integration of the system with biometric systems operated by other agencies and state police, and how it would address people who have plastic surgery. Others expressed concern with the preference for NIST FRVT-evaluated algorithms, the concurrent users and disaster recovery requirements, and the criteria for experience. A vendor also suggested that many companies offering appropriate algorithms for the system do not meet the experience requirements, though this obviously begs the question of how certain their effectiveness can be at scale.

Macau police rules clarified

Police in Macau can use their planned facial recognition system only for processes previously performed manually by officers, and must immediately delete all personal data that does not meet matching requirements, the Chinese special administrative region’s Office for Personal Data Protection (GPDP) has stated, according to Macau Business.

The watchdog agency noted that the “facial recognition system” described in official documents refers to a software application and peripheral devices to perform biometric matching of individuals, rather than an independent and comprehensive system collecting biometric data for other purposes. It also said that police had submitted various programs for approval under their surveillance plan, some of which were accepted and some rejected or altered.

Macau’s ‘Eye in the Sky’ system is expected to be implemented on 2,400 surveillance cameras by 2023.

Guyana facial recognition limited to ports

CCTV cameras in public spaces will not be connected to the facial recognition system planned for use by the Guyana Police Force at official ports, the country’s Ministry of Public Telecommunications has said in a public statement reported by Stabroek News.

Images captured by specialized cameras at Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Eugene F. Correia International Airport, and Molesen Creek Ferry Crossing are the only ones which can be compared to the database held by the Guyana Police Force and international security agencies it has bilateral agreements with, according to the ministry statement.

The ministry also sought to assure citizens that the safe city system will not violate human rights, and according to the report is responding to public concerns expressed in recent weeks. The statement notes that Guyanese operators are being trained in standard operating procedures by a team of British security experts, and that the network handling sensitive data is an independent, government-owned network with no access points for third parties.

Guyana’s government has no plans for facial recognition cameras in city streets, according to the statement.

Private facial biometric deployments in London

Commercial operators in London have been given official permission to deploy facial recognition to at least 16 cameras in popular shopping and cultural areas, iHLS reports.

Liberty department store and Hay’s Galleria mall near London Bridge are among commercial locations where the installation of CCTV cameras has been approved. A spokesperson for Liberty said the store has no plans to apply the capability. According to the report, public records also indicate that permission has been granted to some sites to install panoramic smart cameras with face detection and multiple target-tracking capabilities, and that some cameras include two-way radio systems.


A pilot to process repeat offenders entering Tennessee’s prison system with facial recognition is currently in the beta stage, GovTech reports, helping Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) officers de-duplicate and consolidate their records if necessary.

The system compares the mugshots of incoming inmates with a database of nearly a million records.

The project was launched in September, 2018, and is expected to conclude this month with an initial demonstration. It was designed as a quick and inexpensive demonstration of the technology for other agencies and state stakeholders, according to the report.

“It turns out that our primary issues relate to the enthusiastic embracing of the potential for using [facial recognition] in other aspects of the state’s enterprise,” TDOC Deputy Commissioner Debbie Inglis told GovTech in an email. “Adopting the technology to areas outside of inmate images brings the necessity of addressing statewide governance issues related to security, privacy [and] access to and accountability for use of the technology. These issues are minimized in the POC [proof of concept] because of the nature of the current image sets. Moving outside that realm will necessitate addressing these issues.”

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