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CBSE rebuffs need for privacy policy of facial recognition tool: ‘it’s a simple face matching process’

Government-run education board CBSE said its facial recognition system does not have a privacy policy because it is a “simple face matching process”, the board said in an RTI filed by Delhi-based digital rights group SFLC.in. CBSE or the Central Board of Secondary Education had rolled out a facial recognition system in October for students to download their academic documents for the 10th and 12th grade. More than 2,300 students had gone through the facial recognition tool, as of November 24, to download their documents, CBSE said in the RTI. MediaNama had earlier reported that CBSE's facial recognition system doesn’t have enough safeguards, including a privacy policy. There’s a major gap in CBSE’s response: It isn’t clear what the organisation means by a “simple face matching process”, and why that is enough of a reason to not have a privacy policy. Students’ photographs, collected by the CBSE to issue board admit cards, form the basis of the facial dataset that underpins this facial recognition system, which means that the organisation will be dealing with sensitive personal data of children. 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…

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