Should India, Like The US, Ban The Use Of Facial Recognition?

Harin - Jul 31, 2019


Should India, Like The US, Ban The Use Of Facial Recognition?

Rights Groups in the US are starting a petition to stop the implementation of facial recognition tech. Should India, like the US, ban the use of this tech?

In the US, digital rights groups have been protesting against law enforcement’s use of facial recognition, especially since it is unregulated and unauthorized. Now, they are starting a petition for the technology’s complete ban.

In San Francisco, Massachusetts, and Somerville, local government agencies have already been banned from deploying facial recognition technology. However, such decisions have no effect on federal agencies such as the FBI or the Immigration & Customs Enforcement. For ICE, according to the rights group, the agency utilizes scanned photos taken from the databases for state driver licenses to look for from criminals, witnesses to innocent undocumented immigrants.

US-rights-groups-protest-against-facial-recognition-tech
In San Francisco, Massachusetts, and Somerville, local government agencies have already been banned from deploying facial recognition technology.

Fight for the Future’s deputy director, Evan Greer wrote in an email to Gizmodo:

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This ban would also put a restriction on the government, preventing them from partnering with other firms that develop such software. An example of such companies is Amazon which has been marketing its facial recognition software called “Rekognition” quietly to authorities like local police departments.

Greer said:

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What about India? Should people be concerned about facial recognition technology?

hyderabad-airport-facial-recognition
Just last week, a new system called “Digi Yatra” was implemented at Hyderabad airport.

At least some US groups have been aware of the consequences that mindless implementation of this tech could lead to. But India hasn’t quite caught up yet. Just last week, a new system called “Digi Yatra” was implemented in Hyderabad airport. By making use of facial recognition tech, flyers don’t have to take out their boarding pass to go through the airport’s security gates.

The system is great, but when you put it in a larger context, it can easily be abused. If hackers can crack this database, they will have a treasure trove of biometric data which gives them access to the life of pretty much anybody.

What happens if the police decide to deploy this tech for tracking suspects? Firstly, that would involve people surveillance based on their Aadhaar cards’ identification, which is a privacy breach. Then, it can easily be misused to maliciously target people.

The truth is, no governing technology system should ever be implemented if there isn’t any appropriate countermeasure ready.

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