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Indian police to share fingerprint data, more biometrics introduced in prisons

Indian police to share fingerprint data, more biometrics introduced in prisons

Indian law enforcement agencies will be able to access and share biometric fingerprint data with the country’s National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS).

Among the agencies that will receive NAFIS access are the Central Bureau of Investigation, National Investigation Agency and Narcotics Control Bureau, the Hindustan Times reports.

The web-based application is a central repository of criminal fingerprint data generated across India. Since the official launch of the platform last year in August, NAFIS work stations have been installed in all states and territories while the system currently holds 10 million records.

The national-level database is managed by the Central Fingerprint Bureau (CFPB) at National Crime Records Bureau, New Delhi. Aside from fingerprints, it also stores palm prints and portrait images.

Last year in August, the Indian government passed the controversial Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act which allows police to collect biometric information such as fingerprints, biological samples) from convicts and suspects. While the Act aims to enhance criminal investigations, critics have argued that it hands over too much personal data to the state.

Tightening security in Indian prisons

India’s central jails across the country are currently setting up biometric systems for attendance and security monitoring after a spate of prison violence and security lapses.

The move comes after gang violence led to two deaths by stabbing in New Delhi’s Tihar Jail, one of Asia’s largest prison complexes, News 18 reported. In 2021, deaths in jails across India increased by 12.1 percent to 2116, National Crime Records Bureau data shows.

In an effort to modernize the prison system, jails across India have been busy introducing new biometric applications, including a fingerprint system in the state of Odisha that allows prisoners to make purchases in canteens without paying cash. The prisons will also receive biometric turnstile gates that prevent prisoners from entering other cells while plans have been laid out to install a video call system in the jails with biometric fingerprinting.

The Indian government recently released contradicting information on the introduction of facial recognition in prison complexes.

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