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Exclusive: J&K Police wants to blacklist ‘suspects’ based on facial recognition and artificial intelligence

The use of facial recognition tech for policing brings with it questions of surveillance and discrimination.

You are reading it here first: The Jammu and Kashmir police department is planning to introduce a facial recognition technology (FRT) system in the Union Territory with a database that is capable of storing details of over 10,000 people in a ‘watchlist’. Through the FRT system, J&K Police will also be able to ‘blacklist’ individuals that they deem as suspicious, vice-versa ‘whitelist’ them, and receive alerts based on these actions. These details are part of J&K Police’s plan to introduce 200 facial recognition-enabled CCTV cameras and thus, expand CCTV surveillance of the Union Territory by integrating it with existing surveillance infrastructure, enabling geographical information system (GIS) mapping, and so on. The police floated a tender (viewed by MediaNama) to introduce these technologies and appoint a system integrator for the CCTV surveillance network. Such applications of facial recognition technology paint a grim picture of the present state of surveillance in India and where it’s headed in the absence of robust data privacy laws. Not to mention that the latest draft of India's Data Protection Bill says that the Central Government will have the authority to exempt any agency of the government (like J&K Police) from the provisions of the act, subject to just, fair, reasonable, and proportionate procedure. Facial recognition to be used for detecting crowds, people stone pelting The J&K Police cited several use cases for AI-based video analytics and facial recognition system and particularly stressed the need for identifying individuals in a crowd. In this regard, the police said that the…

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

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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