Indian Railways To Equip Its Stations And Trains With Facial Recognition
Harin - Jan 30, 2020
The Indian Railways have announced that it would deploy facial recognition software in train stations and inside train carriages.
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With every day passing, AI-powered facial recognition software is being used more by law enforcement agencies, government departments, and consumer companies in India. And now, it is time for Indian Railways to do the same.
Earlier this month, the railway company has already announced its plans on installing a video surveillance system that is internet protocol based. Now, it is reportedly having plans to deploy facial recognition software in some major stations by the end of 2020.
An unnamed official of the Indian Railways said:
According to him, the railway company will deploy the technology not only in some major train stations but also inside trains. So far, out of 58,000 carriages, the company has already installed surveillance cameras in 1,200. Sensors are also being tested by law-enforcement authorities for sound detection, from quarrels to screams.
As of now, the new tech is going through a pilot project in Bengaluru. Around half a million of railway commuters are being scanned every day. Their faces are then matched with faces in a criminal database of the police. The images are kept for a maximum of 30 days and during that time, the Railway Protection Force can access those images after receiving approval from the authorized persons. However, there is no information whatsoever about who are those authorized persons and the process to get that authorization.
So it is understandable that the deployment of such technology is an alarm bell to some tech companies in India as well as civil liberties activists and privacy advocates. Many of them are expressing their concerns about how this might badly affect regular citizens’ privacy and security. It is believed that the country is on its way to create the largest facial recognition system in the world. With facial recognition software being deployed by the railway company, it is another instance of how people’s privacy is at risk.