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IFF calls NCRB’s automatic facial recognition system ‘unfathomably detrimental to Indians’

On July 18, the Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) sent a legal notice to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) for inviting bids for the implementation of Automated Facial Recognition Systems (AFRS). IFF also sent a letter and a copy of the notice to Home Minister Amit Shah and Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, “highlighting the features and scope of the AFRS and its unfathomable detriment … to Indians if implemented”. MediaNama has reached out to NCRB for comment. https://twitter.com/internetfreedom/status/1151749931457114114 IFF’s argument Absence of legality: No statutory or executive basis for the requirement of AFRS. It also violates privacy, and does not fulfil the three conditions (legality, legitimate state aim, and proportionality of the legitimate aim) necessary for violating privacy under the Puttaswamy judgement. Manifest arbitrariness in the selection of a technical solution: As the system intends to combine the various databases available with state police across the country, and upload images from CCTV footage, newspapers, raids, sketches, etc., subjects of the images will not know. How their images are being used. As a result, there is no consent whatsoever. Studies have shown that algorithms replicate biases prevalent in society. Mis-identification and discriminatory profiling will become the norm. Absence of any proportionality/safeguards: The RFP largely “delegates aspects of storage and access to the selected bidder and provides no concrete insight as to required limitations or restrictions or impact on the rights of individuals identified”. Absence of safeguards and accountability: No overarching legal framework to protect informational privacy and no safeguards to regulate the…

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