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Interview: TCIL Chairman talks about video analytics system to profile voters at poll booths

Technological interventions in India’s voting process have been on the rise since 2020, despite serious concerns.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has expressed interest in instituting a video analytics system to profile voters and monitor their behaviour at polling stations, Sanjeev Kumar, chairman of the Telecommunication Consultants India Limited (TCIL) told MediaNama in an exclusive interview. This comes a week after there there were news reports that the ECI wants to commission an analytics-based system to monitor and study voter behaviour at polling booths. This development has raised concerns around privacy as well as the sanctity of elections. Read more reactions from stakeholders here. MediaNama dug further to try and understand the specifics of the project, and learnt that the idea for the project was first floated in December 2021, with a plan to do a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) in one of the many states where assembly elections are ongoing. Here are selected excerpts from the interview with Kumar.  What has the ECI asked for, in their conversations with TCIL? Sanjeev Kumar: They have only asked video analytics at polling stations and for profiling of the population and to observe their behaviour in polling stations. This would let them know how many women, men, senior citizens, youth are voting, etc. They would also be able to detect any suspicious behaviour, monitor the behaviour of the adult population who are coming to vote. However allowing voting there through Aadhaar-based and facial recognition requires a change in law. MediaNama: Is there some...(provision to change the law) Snajeev Kumar: I don't know. The government has to take a call on that.…

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I cover health technology for MediaNama but, really, love all things tech policy. Always willing to chat with a reader! Reach me at anushka@medianama.com

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

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