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Delhi Police criticized by watchdog over ‘patently incorrect’ replies on biometric technology

Delhi Police criticized by watchdog over ‘patently incorrect’ replies on biometric technology

India’s Central Information Commission (CIC) has criticized the Delhi Police for giving “patently incorrect” replies to Right to Information (RTI) requests on its use of face detection technology during riots in northeast Delhi in 2020, reports Mint.

The CIC, a body set up to help individuals acquire information when other routes fail, has insisted that the Delhi Police provide revised responses to information requests. According to the report, the CIC said the Delhi Police responses suffer from “legal infirmities” and demonstrate “no application of mind.”

There appear to be eight or nine findings against Delhi Police on the Decisions section of the CIC website concerning the issues of the riots and other cases, outlining the back and forth between appellant and the respondent, including scans of the handwritten correspondence.

The CIC has asked for clarity on the use of its face detection technology, its accuracy, what database was used for comparison and whether biometrics were used in the North East Delhi Riots, where Hindu mobs attacked Muslims and their properties, leaving more than 50 dead, the majority Muslims, reported the Guardian.

Questions had been asked on the number of CCTV cameras installed and locations, whether notices were displayed to inform people they were being filmed and whether face biometrics technology was used in investigating 750 cases related to the riots.

The police denied furnishing information on facial recognition technology on the grounds of an exemption to the Right to Information Act relating to intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitivity of a third party, reports Mint. The Chief Information Commissioner has warned the Delhi Police to be careful in handling RTIs in future.

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