Nearly two months after it was sent a legal notice for launching a facial recognition-based app to verify pensioners' 'liveness', the Meghalaya government has responded. The government contested points raised by digital rights organisation Internet Freedom Foundation. In a press release in July, the Meghalaya CMO had announced the launch of the app, saying that it will replace the existing pensioner verification process involving periodic visits to Treasury Officer or Pension Disbursing Authority. The release noted that the app will be able to detect whether a pensioner is alive and verify their identity from their “real time photographs”. The use of facial recognition technologies for the delivery of various public services has been increasing. In that context, it is important to keep note of the extent of legality of such technologies, their proportionality, and risks. The Meghalaya government's letter and IFF's responses: After receiving the response in a letter dated November 1, IFF released a blog post rebutting the government's responses, and said it is considering further action. Compliance with the Puttaswamy judgement: The IFF had raised objections earlier that the app collects sensitive personal data but is not anchored in legislation and does not conform with principles laid down in the landmark Puttaswamy judgement. Government: The app does not need legislative backing and it satisfies all other requirements as it is optional, and has a well-defined purpose and aim for establishing the identity and increasing the convenience of pensioners, the Meghalaya government has argued. IFF's response: It said that the aim of convenience is…
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