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Commerce Ministry’s external trade promoter wants to use facial recognition to track employees’ attendance

You are reading it here first: A trade fair body under the Ministry of Commerce wants its employees to mark their attendance using a biometric system, capable of both fingerprint verification, and facial recognition. The India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), which manages the trade fair complex at Pragati Maidan in Delhi, on Wednesday floated a tender for procuring eight such devices, out of which five will be deployed at its main office in Delhi, and one each at its regional offices in Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata. ITPO said that the system will be managed via an end-to-end encrypted cloud application that stores employees’ records and photos, and can be integrated with its existing human resource management software. ITPO is planning on using these devices for not just its full-time employees, but also on contract workers. Currently, it has around 600 employees, it said. This is in line with an increasing trend among Indian government bodies. From organisations that track crime statistics such as the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) to an education board like the CBSE, several government institutions are deploying facial recognition systems — even as India lacks a data protection law. The Personal Data Protection Bill, which is currently under deliberation, carves out significant exemptions for government agencies. The COVID-19 pandemic has only bolstered the adoption of facial recognition based attendance systems, given the reduced risk of transmission compared to a fingerprint-based verification system. ITPO's expectations from the system include 99.9% accuracy ITPO wants the facial recognition system…

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