PRIVACY ALERT ⚠️
What is an Artificial Facial Recognition System? (AFRS)
The AFRS is an advanced technology capable of identifying people through images and videos (captured on any device) and its uses are best shown in the Hollywood movies where some powerful govt agency (like FBI or CIA) is finding a potential target (mostly the hero or the villain) in a crowded space.
India wants AFRS
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) wants to modernise police forces and make criminal identification easier. While the implementation plan is still vague, the idea is to help law enforcement agencies compile all information about a person using just their images (or videos). Whether it will be a database or a real-time monitoring (of CCTV Cameras) throughout a particular geographical region is not yet clear.
It’s cool (sure) but it’s dangerous:
The biggest problem with the idea of an advanced technology like AFRS in India is the fact that we have no ‘data protection’ law. The draft bill (that was submitted in July ’18) hasn’t been tabled in the Parliament yet, which means there is no framework that can govern “how the state can collect, store, process and share citizens data”.
In such an environment, connecting AFRS to our existing databases (like the biometrics in Aadhaar) can be used fraudulently, especially if our systems are hacked (& they’ve been vulnerable). That is a real threat to the sensitive data of our citizens.
PS – AFRS is been banned in the ‘valley’ of Startups (Ironically) & China was accused of using it to target Uighar (Turkish) Muslim minorities. 😣
The Indian govt must prioritise the data protection bill before it attempts to mobilise AFRS (or any other advanced tech) nationally. That however, seems unlikely since the AFRS tender is going to float in mid-August.