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Private companies may reportedly get access to CCTNS database for a fee

Private companies and public sector undertakings could potentially get access to the Crime and Criminals Tracking Network Systems (CCTNS) to check whether an employee has a criminal record, the Times of India reported. The verification could reportedly be done after paying a fee. The CCTNS project was conceived by the Home Ministry in 2009, for inter-linking all police stations under a common application software for the purpose of investigation, data analytics and providing citizen services.

The National Crime Records Bureau has already developed a number of applications that rely on the CCTNS database, such as: 

  • Cri-MAC for flashing alerts on crime and criminals, automatic matching alerts for missing persons and stolen vehicles using CCTNS national level database
  • Unify app for matching unidentified people and children and and mobile app for crime scene photography and videography, which all rely on CCTNS’ database.

A number of upcoming surveillance tools, such as the National Crime Record Bureau’s Automated Facial Recognition System will be linked to the CCTNS, which will essentially as the facial dataset that underpins the large scale facial recognition surveillance tool. Crowd tracking tools, like the ones that Noida is currently mulling, also link to the CCTNS. 

To be sure, this won’t be the first time that the government gives access to one of its databases to private companies in lieu of a price. The Road Transport Ministry was selling vehicle registration and drivers licence databases under a bulk data sharing policy — however, it stopped doing so citing privacy concerns. 

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