It also isn’t clear if the CBSE’s facial recognition tool uses the 1:1 or the 1:N protocol. The former verifies an image against another image, while the latter recognises an image from a large dataset. In either case, facial recognition technology, in general, isn’t a simple technology to get right, and it appears that the central education board is trying to significantly downplay the capabilities of its facial recognition system.
CBSE, in the RTI response, also said that the facial recognition functionality is currently under a pilot phase and is “just a second factor facial matching verification service”.
CBSE won’t say if it carried out a privacy impact assessment: SFLC.in had also asked CBSE whether it had carried out a privacy impact assessment before rolling out the facial recognition tool, and CBSE did not directly address that question. Instead, it said that “no template consent form” was created.
No additional consent sought from students or guardians: CBSE also revealed that it has not sought any additional consent from students or their guardians for using the facial recognition tool because no additional data is needed by the system. “The system uses the admit card photographs already available on CBSE record to match the photograph of the student,” it said.
However, we had earlier pointed out that it isn’t clear whether CBSE had intimated students and guardians that the photographs they’re submitting for their board certificates could someday be used as a facial dataset.
CBSE claims extremely high accuracy rates: CBSE also claimed that the accuracy of its “simple face matching” tool is 99% in “test conditions”. This is a very high accuracy rate, and is only possible in the most ideal scenarios, where every component including the camera, and lighting is controlled. In real life scenario, a lot of students will actually be using the system using low quality webcams on laptops, which is bound to reduce the system’s accuracy.’
‘No private company involved’: CBSE said that the system was developed in “technical collaboration” with the National e-Governance Division, under the IT Ministry. However, it did not specify what role NeGD played in the development of the platform, and whether any other entity was involved in its development. However, it did specify that no private company was involved in the development of this tool, or any of its features.
Read more from our coverage related to facial recognition:
- Tamil Nadu Police nab criminal using face recognition app, questions of safeguards and accountability remain
- Exclusive: Delhi Police working on arming PCR vans with facial recognition software
- Bangalore City railway station will soon have face recognition surveillance. It’s Orwellian and expensive
- CBSE now has a facial recognition tool and it’s problematic
- How Telangana is using the pandemic to push facial recognition tech on its population
- Interview: Telangana could soon use facial recognition authentication for ration distribution, says state’s IT secy Jayesh Ranjan
- India’s NCRB to test automated facial recognition system on ‘mask-wearing’ faces
- Exclusive: Concerns around number of active users, and ‘backdoors’ raised at an NCRB facial recognition meeting
- UIDAI, NPCI piloting face authentication for Aadhaar
- Central Railways to install facial recognition attendance systems at its premises