What’s the news: An inter-ministerial task force at the Centre has recommended that online gaming companies use facial recognition technologies (FRT) to verify the age of players to address concerns of addiction, particularly among children, reported the Hindustan Times. The report prepared by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s (MeitY) task force, contains new gaming regulations with recommendations from the Union Ministries of Home, Sports and Youth Affairs, Information and Broadcasting, Finance, Law, and Consumer Affairs. The report discusses how financial losses due to real money online gaming have led to suicides in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and other parts of India. Further, it acknowledges the lack of a regulatory framework to govern online gaming companies, such as having a grievance redressal mechanism, implementing player protection measures, protecting data and IPR, and prohibiting misleading advertisements. Why it matters: The use of FRT as a means of age-verification has been much debated. When the California age-appropriate code was passed, LGBTQ+ groups voiced concerns that such technologies will lead to the surveillance of children, especially those from minority groups. There is also the fact that age-verification via FRT can hinder people’s right to be anonymous online. While incidents of suicides owing to online betting are a definite concern, it is important to ensure that preventive measures do not step on the toes of basic human rights like privacy. The report, submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office in September, noted the World Health Organization’s (WHO) formal classification of gaming…
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