What’s the news: The Greater Chennai Police arrested nine history-sheeters reported to be absconding and facing non-bailable warrants, said The Hindu (TH). As per the report, the police also used facial recognition software (FRS) and records to visit the homes of the history sheeters to verify that the accused do not engage in anti-social activities. Officers carried out a raid on November 5, 2022 to check 784 history sheeters as part of the Drive Against Rowdy Elements (DARE). The officer told TH that 503 accused persons had been arrested as part of this campaign specifically focusing on history-sheeters having attempted murder and over two cases of assault against them. Such drives highlight the growing enthusiasm of law enforcement agencies for surveillance technologies like FRS. Why it matters: Over the years, law enforcement agencies in India are increasing their use of surveillance technology for “law and order” purposes. Jammu and Kashmir police are issuing tenders to create a wide CCTV surveillance network that will later on incorporate FRS. Whereas Delhi police is known to use FRS in riot situations despite the technologies ineffective accuracy rates. This raises concerns of a ‘surveillance state’ especially for the lack of a data protection or privacy law. The Saturday raid is yet another example of how the police continues to gain power to regulate masses while the individual has no legal protection from such technologies. FRS not a foolproof tool: On October 11, a Noida-based businessman travelling to Switzerland via Abu Dhabi airport suffered a…
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