Police in India are using footage captured at demonstrations to scan for "habitual protesters" using face recognition software, according to a report in The Indian Express.
The country has witnessed widespread protests over a new controversial law that grants citizenship to persecuted minorities from neighboring countries but doesn't apply to Muslims.
There are accounts that at least 25 people have been killed in clashes with police, who have also reportedly been filming protesters in the process.
Authorities are being accused of running the footage through a facial recognition system to identify notable protesters and keep them out of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally that took place on December 22, reported The Indian Express.
Not so good for those who it misidentifies -- which it does a lot. Or for those whose faces are misused by malicious authorities.— The Legendary Sue (@sunayanaroy) December 29, 2019
According to unnamed sources cited by the newspaper, police had received information that there would be disruptions at the rally and used their video archive to analyze faces and behavior to identify suspects.
The software was originally acquired as a tool to identify and locate missing children but it appears that it's now being used to target activists that could be problematic for the state and the prime minister.
India is setting-up one of the world’s largest facial recognition systems, National Automated Facial Recognition System #AFRS in order to nab suspects & criminals. A system have been build to centralize facial recognition data captured through surveillance cameras across India. pic.twitter.com/KUHAQ73BQq— Avinash Srivastava ® (@go4avinash) December 30, 2019
If the allegations are true, this would mean that India has for the first time created a database of people's biometric data for purposes it had not publicized, sparking privacy concerns.
We have put the Delhi Police to notice calling on it to urgently stop it’s facial recognition system. It is illegal and unconstitutional. 1/nhttps://t.co/IOx226RzPY— Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) (@internetfreedom) December 29, 2019
For some people, however, the surveillance capabilities seemed to lack credibility.
There is nothing like that, India isn’t advance enough and facial recognition is only possible with samples or if it’s prerecorded.— TazMikar (@MikarTaz) December 29, 2019
No one can be recognized with Face on computer without data of millions of points being in the system.
But as facial recognition becomes a powerful tool for governments globally to use discretely, this might be an inevitable reality - with citizens even coming around to accept it.
How do you recognize criminals who repeatedly do rioting and arson ? Please suggest a way. Either you like it or not, face recognition is there to stay. Who told you it is illegal in India ?— Voxpopuli (@balapkamath) December 29, 2019
Facial Recognition System is an excellent technology to identify criminals & rioters. Police should use it everywhere across #India.— Sachin Bhawsar (@SachinBhawsar16) December 29, 2019
Anything against #Jihadis #TukdeTukdeGang #UrbanNaxals #AntiNationals #Traitors #Criminals is legal & constitutional
Live with it or leave India
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