This follows the trend of several government institutions adopting facial recognition systems for attendance to avoid contact-based mechanisms due to COVID-19. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has proposed a facial recognition system for verifying candidates who appear for online examinations conducted by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). AIIMS New Delhi conducts various academic, recruitment, and professional examinations across the year, which indicates that scores of candidates will be under surveillance and their biometric data will be stored with the institute for six months, a tender floated by the Ministry said. However, the tender does not provide any information on whether this data is going to be shared or how it will be used. Why it matters? Lately, there has been a spurt in the adoption of facial recognition systems by various government departments and institutions in a bid to maintain social distancing measures and other COVID-19 guidelines. However, the question is whether this technology, once installed, will be abandoned once the pandemic subsides. It is important to ask this question because there is no legislation presently that regulates facial recognition technology. Although, the Personal Data Protection Bill, which might be introduced in Parliament during the Winter Session, could address a few aspects of this technology. The broader idea behind this tender is to install a recording and surveillance system "to monitor various activities of the candidates and other persons at examination centres spread all over India" and to provide "Advance Biometric Capture & verification…
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