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Exclusive: Telangana to introduce facial recognition for ration supply in the future

As Telangana explores bringing facial recognition to fair price shops, many warn that the use of such tech can be exclusionary.

You are reading it here first: In the future, in Telangana, your facial data may be key to getting access to essential items such as rice, sugar, and wheat under the public distribution system (PDS). While the Indian government is still in the process of developing Aadhaar-based facial recognition, the Telangana government has identified a use case for the same and is planning to introduce it in fair price shops in the future. Telangana's Department of Consumer Affairs, Food and Civil supplies has issued a tender for the installation and maintenance of 17,500 ePoS devices (electronic point of sale devices), which are Aadhaar authentication devices, along with iris scanners. The department said that these devices should also be "compatible to incorporate photo matching and face recognition options". There has been a spurt in the Indian government’s and various state governments’ use of facial recognition. Its usage has been debated as privacy was declared a fundamental right in India, but the nation is yet to have a major data privacy law in place. The low accuracy rates of these algorithms, which in this case may prove to be exclusionary, are also a point of concern. Database seeded with Aadhaar to be leveraged for facial recognition The department said that the camera devices required for facial recognition should be 5 megapixels and should be certified by the Standardisation Testing and Quality Certification (STQC) and the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). It plans to make use of facial recognition for PDS by leveraging the…

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Among other subjects, I cover the increasing usage of emerging technologies, especially for surveillance in India

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