Indian Police Used Facial Recognition To Arrest Over 1,100 People In A Riot Last Month

Dhir Acharya - Mar 12, 2020


Indian Police Used Facial Recognition To Arrest Over 1,100 People In A Riot Last Month

Not long after one of the worst riots seen in New Delhi for decades, India’s law enforcement agencies used facial recognition to identify over 1,100 people.

Not long after one of the worst riots seen in New Delhi for decades, India’s law enforcement agencies used facial recognition to identify over 1,100 people that allegedly participated in the riots late last month. Amit Shah, the country’s home minister, said to te parliament that law enforcement provided photos from government-issued IDs for its facial recognition system, including driver licenses as well as other databases.

Indian Police Used Facial Recognition To Arrest Over 1,100 People In A Riot Last Month
Indian Police Used Facial Recognition To Arrest Over 1,100 People In A Riot Last Month

TechCrunch reported that the facial recognition system was also fed with 12-digit Aadhaar numbers, which are identity numbers for individuals based on demographic and biometric data, issued ti over 1 billion Indians.

However, there are legal questions raised around using facial recognition in tracking down suspects in the country. As of now, India doesn’t have any laws laying out ethical uses for this type of tech. New Delhi-based Internet Freedom Foundation says that the system worked with just a 1% accuracy rate when identifying missing children, the system also failed to tell boys from girls. The digital rights advocacy group claims that law enforcement in the country doesn’t have a clear legal authority to arrest people using this technology, let alone a large number of residents attending the violent riots.

 there are legal questions raised around using facial recognition in tracking down suspects
There are legal questions raised around using facial recognition in tracking down suspects

On the other hand, this is not the first time the country has used facial recognition to assist police work. And this is definitely not the first time Aadhaar data’s been provided for law enforcement. At a protest earlier in 2020, facial recognition was used by New Delhi police to identify suspects in an investigation. A February report from Reuters said that activists were concerned that there wasn’t sufficient regulation for the new tech and they could be targeted due to their religion.

This is definitely not the first time Aadhaar data’s been provided for law enforcement
This is definitely not the first time Aadhaar data’s been provided for law enforcement

In 2013, the Central Bureau of Investigation was conducting an investigation into the rape of a young Indian girl in Goa. CBI asked UIDAI to turn over all the fingerprint records to be used for figuring out who owned the print found at the crime scene. But the Bombay High Court ordered the Central Forensic Science Laboratory to determined it law enforcement could instead match a fingerprint at the crime scene with that in the Aadhaar database. Ultimately, though, the court ruled that the data couldn’t be given to a third party if the holders didn’t allow.

But using massive databases, law enforcement may be able to identify anyone it wants for whatever reason.

>>> Chinese Surveillance System Can Detect Who You Are Within A Second, Even When You're Wearing A Mask

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