More Indian states launch facial recognition tenders for public security camera deployments
Despite lingering concerns from rights advocates about the use of facial recognition in public places, the use of the technology for surveillance purposes seems to be gaining traction in India as two more state governments have tendered for biometric surveillance projects for some of their cities.
Odisha state tenders for ‘people-tracking’ tech
Odisha has unveiled a tender for the implementation of a facial recognition project in the third largest city, Rourkela, under the framework of a government-run Smart City Projects, Medianama reports.
According to the tender, as mentioned by the outlet, the facial recognition system being sought, will be integrated with IP video CCTV cameras and will be able to track people and analyze patterns of demonstrations in crowds, and identify people captured in multiple live streams at the same time.
The system needed should also be able to initially store up to 10,000 faces on a biometric watchlist in real-time and alert security staff when someone is spotted in a restricted area, according to Medianama. The tender also specifies the watchlist should be scalable to at least a million records.
The company eventually chosen to supply the system should ensure that it can easily capture images from different environmental conditions, according to the tender, which also details that artificial intelligence-based video analytics will be installed in 110 cameras at different points across the city. It also makes a listing of other key capabilities which the system must have, such as the ability to identify and authenticate based on individual facial features, match faces from recorded media, detect a face from a photo, detect a face from stored video of any format, and integrate with other systems in the future such as an automatic fingerprint identification system (AFIS), among other requirements.
Concerning privacy, Medianama quotes the tender as requesting that “the architecture must adopt an end-to-end security model that protects data and the infrastructure from malicious attacks, theft, natural disasters,” and that provisions must be made to ensure the “security of field equipment as well as protection of the software system from hackers and other threats.”
Meanwhile, law experts have suggested while such facial recognition projects continue to be rolled out generally without any robust data protection and privacy regulation in place, authorities should however consider introducing a regulatory framework for surveillance projects, like this one, which target bulk data.
Surveillance project planned for Gurugram
Authorities in Gurugram, a city in the Indian state of Haryana, say about 1,000 more cameras will be installed for surveillance purposes at different places across the city, with attention to be paid on junctions where there is likely to be high traffic in the future due to population growth, reports Hindustan Times.
An official from the smart city division of the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority, the report mentions, says they are looking forward to installing these 1,000 cameras as part of the second phase of the project, after 1,200 were installed across the city in the first. The cameras have been installed at prominent locations across the city.
“We are planning to install cameras at 200 locations, for which we are also consulting with the police department. The list of areas is yet to be finalized, but our aim is to install cameras at busy junctions in the city to monitor traffic violations, areas where more crimes are reported, with which the police department is helping us, and places where footfall is likely to increase in the future,” the official was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
He added that there are three types of cameras that will be installed, and they include automatic number plate recognition cameras, facial recognition cameras and general surveillance cameras.
The report notes that the project is being implemented to respond to concerns about insecurity raised by city dwellers.
Karnal facial recognition facilities not yet live
Meanwhile, in Karnal, another city in Haryana, there is news that a couple of months after their inauguration, no facial recognition facility of the Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC) project is functional yet, as reported by The Tribune.
The project, the report notes, was launched in December 2021 with the aim of overseeing traffic and enhancing security across neighbourhoods of the city. The project was meant to install 129 facial recognition cameras at 29 different locations, but the installation has happened in just 10 of the areas.
Anish Yadav, deputy commissioner and CEO, Karnal Smart City Ltd, is quoted as saying the problem is as a result of a software failure, and that instructions have been given to the company in charge to fix the problem as soon as possible.
The ICCC is also expected to inter-link various government departments as part of the smart city project.
India has embarked on a robust facial recognition for surveillance plan as many schools across states are also installing the technology for various purposes, although the country’s data protection regulation is yet to be operationalized.
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