India is set to witness the biggest ever deployment of facial recognition system next month. Come 8th of November, India will announce the winner of the bids for the National Automated Facial Recognition System (NAFRS) that will lead India towards executing its plan to install automatic facial recognition. It will not only enhance security across the country but help in capturing criminals, identify lost individuals, dead bodies and more.
With this move, the government has made another significant stride in improving security across the country. While installing CCTV cameras for enhanced security was effectual but it included manual force to monitor and identify incidents. With automated facial recognition, the government will streamline such tedious processes to make instant decisions for arresting criminals.
What is Government Expecting from Bidders
With this system installed, the videos from CCTV cameras can be utilised to match information from the national crime record bureau and notify in case of a match. It would mean that cops would be able to find criminals easily without performing any manual search.
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The government is also expecting that the automatic facial recognition system should have a feature to upload the images of criminals from newspapers or pictures sent by the public in the criminal database.
The facial recognition platform will be integrated with other governmental departments to embrace images collected by them, thereby, simplifying the process for police to search across different databases.
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Is India ready for it?
As of today, there is no regulation in place to keep a tab on the data for avoiding the unlawful use of facial information. The government has not yet disclosed the roadmap for the accessibility of facial data. It, therefore, raised doubts among citizens about the potential implications of the technology.
Safeguarding data is of paramount importance as the slightest of negligence can lead to a significant privacy glitch. Although the deployment of facial recognition will bring convenience to both the government and people alike, citizens anticipate reliable data protection. Therefore, people are dubious about the successful implementation of this initiative.
However, India has already successfully deployed facial recognition at airports for security check-ins, and now with the integration of NAFRS, the government is trying to make it ubiquitous in India.
Facial recognition is far from being flawless as there have been numerous instances where the technology could not recognise the faces correctly or even failed to identify 3D facial structures. They are many instances where facial recognition technology has failed. Mismatches are very common with this technology. Thus many governments across the globe have rejected the idea of its integration.
While a few people think that it is an encroachment of freedom, others consider it a crucial initiative for striking down criminals for a safer place. But, with the recent news about the misuse of facial recognition technology by Hong Kong police to quell protestors, citizens are critical about the potential abuse of technology.
Embracing the technology for purveying public services is essential but at the same time, ensuring its appropriate use is pivotal for any government to gain the trust of its people. It can be done by bringing transparency in the system. The use case of facial recognization is limitless, but accuracy has to be the prime factor for deploying it. Building the world’s biggest facial recognition system for the sake of records will not serve the purpose; thereby, the government must communicate its intention and plans clearly with its citizens.
The government needs to step up and explain their approach. It should also assure its citizens about the use cases to deliver public services effectively. Moreover, the government should bring a stringent law that eliminates the potential exploitation of personal data of its citizens.