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India’s new law enforcement face biometrics RFP tilts in favor of local vendors

India’s new law enforcement face biometrics RFP tilts in favor of local vendors

India’s national government has published a request for proposal asking vendors to sell it on facial recognition systems that can identify people even wearing masks and after plastic surgery.

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) wants to hear proposals about a system that can store 10 million face photographs and that will integrate with other biometric databases. One such database is the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems.

Last year, the bureau’s director published a post discussing plans within the agency, including the integration of the National Automated Fingerprint Identification Fingerprint ID System and the Advanced Facial Recognition.

It is not clear if the system that the Indian government is seeking would be a part of this proposal or if it represents current capabilities.

The Bureau has twice before put the idea out for proposal. In both instances, the qualifications required seemed to favor big overseas biometrics vendors, prompting local resentment.

That resentment prompted a revision to the tender, in the midst of a series of delays.

The NCRB post was published just as the window for submitting bids to provide the Automated Facial Recognition System was pushed back for a tenth time. The tender process was delayed again later in the year, with the NCRB adding a requirement for biometric identification of people wearing masks.

The newest iteration reportedly uses criteria that favors turnkey Indian face biometrics firms.

Among the facial recognition firms and integrators that could craft a proposal are AIndra Labs, FaceX, and Shephertz.

The system will not tie directly into CCTV cameras or future cameras, according to the government. That will appease some privacy advocates, but not all of those who feel the technology is a power grab by government and an abuse of human rights.

But it will analyze faces captured by CCTV cameras as well as social media accounts, passport photos, criminal records and newspapers, according to news publisher Entrackr.

Lawyers will take a good look at the program in light of a 2017 decision by the Indian Supreme Court holding that individual privacy is a fundamental right.

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