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NtechLab contracted by Indian Railways to deploy facial recognition at 30 stations

How privacy regulation will be complied with yet to be determined
NtechLab contracted by Indian Railways to deploy facial recognition at 30 stations

India’s newest railway facial recognition surveillance project is underway, with a contract to deploy the technology to 30 stations, though privacy concerns remain over limits to civil freedoms. NtechLab, which is supplying Indian Railways in stations across Gujarat and Maharashtra, has identified India as a key market for video surveillance and facial imaging, according to an interview by CEO Andrei Telenkov with The Indian Express.

NtechLab’s biometric software in this instance will be deployed across the 2 states for a multitude of different video analytics including crime detection and flow monitoring. The company’s technology covers business solutions from corporate safety to dating services, as well as government solutions like transport security and mobile biometric systems.

Telenkov says the company has hired dedicated personnel for the Indian market, which poses its own facial recognition challenges from a technical standpoint. A typical video feed elsewhere in the world like those NtechLab is supplying for Indian Railways might include 10 faces at a time, the CEO explains, but the average number is closer to 50 faces per frame in Indian deployments. It “was a huge technical challenge to detect and recognize all those faces,” Telenkov told The Indian Express.

NtechLab already supplies biometric identification systems within the law enforcement segment of the safe city system in Moscow, to detect crime and track foot traffic flows throughout the city, and the Moscow Metro. The algorithm of the Moscow facial recognition system was customized to work with the video resolution typical of most of the city’s surveillance cameras (4CIF), according to the company website.

In August updates were added to the company’s software suit which included introducing an advanced algorithm as part of the new FindFace Multi, enabling biometric matching of faces, as well as the silhouettes of people and cars.

Telenkov says, however, that parameters around usage of NtechLab’s technology can be made flexible for the client, citing Russian clients’ use of the tech for criminal blacklists. Safeguards for privacy concerns are also in the client’s hands, NtechLab does not contribute to database creation or compliance. This means it is up to Indian Railways, the body managing the urban train travel system in the country to introduce regulation surrounding the uses of the technology and collection of data.

India’s Personal Data Protection Bill, however, is currently stalled in parliament, leaving the country without assurances about how biometrics and other data collected will be used.

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