The Indian Railways is in the process of installing Video Surveillance Systems (VSS), equipped with a facial recognition system, in 983 railway stations across the country, the Ministry of Railways said in a statement on January 8. RailTel will provide these surveillance systems which will also be equipped with video analytics. Rs 250 crore has been allocated to the Ministry from the Nirbhaya fund to undertake this project. Which areas of a railway station would be surveilled? These surveillance systems will be installed at platforms, waiting halls, reservation counters, parking areas, main entrance/exit, foot over bridges, and booking offices. They could also be potentially installed in railway coaches. Live feeds from the VSS will be monitored via multiple screens at the Railway Protection Force (RPF) control room. Where will the data be stored, and for how long? Data collected as part of this exercise will be stored for 30 days for playback, analysis and investigation purposes. The Ministry also said that “important videos” can be stored for “longer”, without specifying the exact duration for which these videos could be stored beyond the 30 day limit. It also didn’t clarify what will potentially constitute “important videos”. The Ministry, however, specified that at least 5 TB worth of data will be collected by these surveillance systems, each month. Surveillance at several railway stations, including Bengaluru, is already on: There will be a phase-wise installation of these surveillance systems, and the Ministry is targeting to cover 200 railway stations in the first phase. The…
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