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Facial recognition in India: new study approved, regulations remain difficult

Jammu and Kashmir police renew efforts to deploy FRT in Srinagar
Facial recognition in India: new study approved, regulations remain difficult

NITI Aayog, the National Institution for Transforming India, has recently approved a new study into the implementation of facial recognition in the country, The Indian Express reports.

The study, ‘Handbook for responsible facial recognition technologies in India: A case study for Digi Yatra’ is to be conducted by the Centre for Applied Law and Technology Research (ALTR), Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, New Delhi.

Unveiled at a meeting chaired by NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar last week, the Rs 2.3 million (US$31,000) initiative will be updated in the next few weeks to include the institutional arrangements needed to deploy the technology.

According to NITI Aayog member Dr. VK Saraswat, the face biometrics project will have a security angle, with “misuse/malpractices” related to the use of the technology to be thoroughly analyzed before deployment.

Commenting on the news, a representative from Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy told The Indian Express one of the biggest issues that need to be addressed before deployment is recalibrating data sets for accuracy, as many of them present a majority of Caucasian males.

PrivacyNama event discusses biometrics regulations in India

The conference on privacy regulations took place earlier this month, and discussed, among other things, the impediments to effective regulations of biometrics in India.

The session focused on a number of biometric technologies, including facial recognition, thermal scanning, and fingerprint scanning.

During the event, Executive Director of the Centre for Internet and Society Amber Sinha mentioned a lack of incentives for companies to invest in clear privacy policies.

Jhalak Kakkar, Executive Director at the Centre for Communication Governance, also mentioned the ambiguity around the legality of any biometric-based technology deployed by the government, as well as calling for information disclosure regarding storage and processing of biometric data.

Additional topics discussed by the panel were related to stakeholders not being given enough chances to submit feedback regarding biometric systems, and reluctance from the judiciary to ensure compliance with the Puttaswamy judgment.

J&K Police pushes for biometric surveillance system following terrorist attack

The Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Police have stepped up efforts to install facial recognition technology cameras (FRT) across Srinagar, India Today reports.

The move comes days after multiple terrorist attacks left 11 civilians dead over two weeks, and will see the addition of more biometric cameras to the 300 ones already in the area.

The police force will reportedly try and fund the deployment via a collaboration with the Srinagar Municipal Corporation.

According to law enforcement, the move will potentially help in preempting and preventing attacks in the future.

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