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Police seek provider for live facial recognition surveillance in India’s Jammu and Kashmir

Police seek provider for live facial recognition surveillance in India’s Jammu and Kashmir

The police in the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) union territory of India have issued a tender for a project aimed at installing 200 facial recognition-enabled CCTV cameras, thereby expanding live, mass biometric surveillance across the territory, according to a report by MediaNama.

The police say they expect to install 1,000 surveillance cameras in the entire union territory as they continue the push for such systems to counter terrorist threats.

MediaNama reports that the tender documents reveal that the facial recognition project also seeks the appointment of a system integrator for the entire surveillance network, and solutions from vendors whose products have been tested by the United States National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST).

The video analytics software sought by the police should, among other things, be able to detect a crowd within the field of the view of the camera; detect the total number of persons and their gender; estimate crowd density; detect a person falling down suddenly; recognize a person with a beard or with glasses; match a suspected criminal face from pre-recorded feeds; issue alerts if suspects or blacklisted people are captured in a frame composing multiple people; and create a dataset of whitelisted individuals and enable a feature that can raise the severity of an alert.

The tender also requires that the facial recognition surveillance system should present results of over 90 percent accuracy within 20 meters of the location of a surveillance camera.

The planned project, which will also be able to store the data of over 10,000 persons on a biometric ‘watchlist,’ has sparked concerns about discrimination and privacy especially as India’s Data Protection Regulation is yet to be operationalized.

Experts fear the imminent facial recognition project will lead to increased surveillance of residents of the union territory, and without adequate safeguards in place, this could lead to safety and privacy compromises, writes MediaNama.

The outlet cites Prashant Sugathan, legal director at Software Freedom Law Center, as stating that citizens deserve the right to freedoms and dissent in a democracy, rather than being subjected to surveillance that could breed restrictions.

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