From hovering drones to hawk-eyed CCTV cameras, Indians by 2020 have become used to being surveilled. Facial recognition, one of the booming, yet controversial technologies, is being harnessed by the Government on a large scale.
According to reports, the facial recognition market was valued at $4.51 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach a value of $9.06 billion by 2024, at a CAGR of 12.5%, for the forecast period of 2019-2024.
In this article, we list down seven times where police and the Govt of India have used facial recognition techniques to monitor the citizens.
(The list is in chronological order starting from the latest)
After the violence that broke out at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in January 2020, the Delhi police have started to investigate the crime with the help of video footage and facial recognition systems to identify those who were involved in the attacks.
Last month, Delhi Police used facial recognition software to screen the crowd in a political rally which was led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. According to sources, this was the first time that the Delhi Police used a set of facial images collected from footage that was filmed at the city’s previous protests to filter the “law and order suspects” at the rally. The end product was made available on the web platforms and mobile devices — in Android, iOS, and Windows.
3| Identifying Criminals Nov 19
Last year, the Government of India had been reported to use facial recognition and artificial intelligence technology for identifying and catching criminals. The Railway Protection Force (RPF) stated the aim of linking the facial recognition system (FRS) with existing databases of Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS) to identify criminals. According to sources, the CCTNs would be connected to the FRS database through a bridge software from which the Govt. of India will have access to the massive database of criminals.
A few months ago, National Crime Records (NCRB), a subset of the Government of India, has also announced the development of National Automated Facial Recognition System (NAFRS) to help in identifying and verifying persons automatically from digital images, photos, digital sketches, video frames, and video sources by comparing selected facial features of the model with an already existing image database.
Last year in July, Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport launched a facial recognition facility under the Centre’s Digi Yatra Policy for the first time in India. According to the sources, the facial recognition technology has omitted the whole physical check-up routine of documents at the airport, which was earlier done by the Central Industrial Security Forces (CISF). The process was replaced by the facial recognition technology that has been introduced at the passenger entry points.
6| Republic Day
Last year, 2019, on the Republic Day celebrations, around 30 facial recognition cameras were installed at the venue by the Delhi Police. The cameras there had advanced facial recognition technology inbuilt to help the centre police to identify terrorists and criminal elements during the celebration. The working of the facial recognition cameras was such that if any visitor has a 70% face match with any available photographs of terrorists and criminals in the database, the system would then send an alert to the control room.
In 2018, Amritsar police was one other example which used a facial recognition system known as Punjab Artificial Intelligence System or PAIS, which was developed by Gurugram AI company — Staqu Technologies. The system also included CCTV footage and facial recognition technologies which helped in solving a murder case within 24 hours.