The National Testing Agency (NTA) which is introducing facial recognition for verification of candidates sitting for entrance examinations like Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), and so on, did not seek a legal opinion before introducing the technology, the autonomous agency told MediaNama in response to a Right to Information request. It also did not provide a direct answer to whether it conducted a privacy impact assessment for the project. Question: Please state whether any legal opinion was sought by the National Testing Agency prior to procurement of the said facial recognition system NTA: No, there was no such requirement The introduction of facial recognition technology at exam centres is going to affect millions of students since India does not have robust laws in place to regulate the use of such technologies which deal with sensitive data. The Personal Data Protection Bill, which would address such concerns, is yet to be introduced in the Lok Sabha. We also asked the NTA whether it had undertaken a privacy impact assessment of the facial recognition project that potentially involves data of millions of students including minors. MediaNama: Please provide information regarding any privacy impact assessment done before the proposed use of facial recognition system NTA: Please refer to Tender Document (Clause 11.9) Appointment of Successful Bidders. Read: Major entrance examinations such as JEE, NEET, UGC-NET to come under facial recognition surveillance NTA's response on privacy assessment does not hold ground Before going any further, it is important to…
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