India authorizes roll out of automated biometric facial recognition in police investigations

India authorizes roll out of automated biometric facial recognition in police investigations

India’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) is now allowed to use a biometric automated facial recognition system (AFRS) to identify suspects, bodies and missing people, writes the Times of India, after India’s Home Ministry officially informed the Rajya Sabha (India’s upper legislative house) about the decision.

The AFRS will only use police records and can only be accessed by police officers, the institution said insisting on the importance of ensuring citizens’ privacy. Implementation approval was confirmed in writing by Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy. The NCRB sought in November to assure privacy advocates that the system will not violate the principle of consent, and will be subject to strict operational safeguards.

The facial recognition system is a mobile and web application that identifies people by recording, analyzing, collecting and sharing data between organizations. It is stored in NCRB’s data center in Delhi, but it can be used nationwide.

Future plans include integration with other databases managed by NCRB such as crime and criminal tracking network and systems (CCTNS), the integrated criminal justice system, missing children portal Khoya Paya and state specific databases.

In January, NCRB was still accepting proposals for an automated facial recognition system, after it moved the deadline for the sixth time to March 27 due to “administrative reasons.”

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