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National biometric facial recognition system tender delayed for eighth time by Indian authority

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The bid deadline for India’s incoming Automated Facial Recognition System has been pushed back for the eighth time by the National Crime Records Bureau, according to MediaNama.

Bids are now due by July 17, with technical bids opened July 24. The system is intended to provide a web application for matching suspect images against a database made up of passport photos, data from the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) and the Interoperable Criminal Justice System, among other sources.

The 172-page request for proposals (RFP) is under revision, according to the note from the NCRB, and has been taken offline by the agency.

The first six extensions of the deadline, which pushed it to March 27, were each attributed to administrative reasons, and the process has faced criticism from local companies fearing exclusion from the tender based on financial criteria, and privacy advocates fearing it lacks legal basis, oversight, and proportionality.

MediaNama points out that prospective bidders have also raised concerns, as far back as a pre-bid meeting last year, about the cap on the number of companies that can form a consortium to bid at two, and the past experience criteria, which some said excludes companies that provide effective algorithms. Questions were also asked about future integration of the AFRS with other systems.

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