Chaayos, a popular tea store chain in India, has installed facial recognition systems at its outlets to replace mobile number OTP. MediaNama encountered one such system installed at one of Chaayos’ Delhi outlets. The interface did not display any terms and conditions regarding the use of the facial data that the terminals would collect. There was only an option to “start” the feature, and no opt-out option could be seen on the screen. There is no mention of facial recognition technology on Chaayos' Terms and Conditions page. Also, this is happening while we still await a privacy law in India and there are no clearly established rules around facial recognition. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_q7vr01ros We don't know where Chaayos stores all the facial data that it collects and how long it stores it for. We also don't know if the outlet is looking to use this data for commercial purposes. In case the police approaches a Chaayos outlet to investigate a case, will the company share this facial data with them? We also don't know the safeguards put in place to ensure that all this biometric data remains safe and secure. “I was buying tea and didn't even notice what was on the screen, and suddenly, the screen showed me. Remember, all this is happening without facial recognition norms, or a privacy law in India,” said Nikhil Pahwa, founder and editor of MediaNama, who shot this video. In a series of tweets, Pahwa said that “biometric information is a permanent username + password.…
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