On May 4, the Mumbai division of Central Railways launched a new ticket-checking initiative that involves equipping train ticket collectors (TCs) with body cameras for transparency in ticket checking. It has also introduced a UPI/QR code payment system through the SBI net banking app, YONO. The division claims that these initiatives would help add transparency to the ticketing system. They also believe that body cameras could deter violence and misbehavior. Why it matters: The use of body cameras in the ticket-checking system could reduce discrepancies and might even help TCs defend themselves against reputational damage. But they do raise some red flags for passengers. We have previously discussed how CCTVs can become the stepping stone of a surveillance state, and naturally, the same applies to body cameras as well. Their use in the Mumbai division of Central Railways, wherein the railway is a popular public transportation, could expose passengers to facial recognition software. It is important to consider that according to the Central Railways' website, it carries 4 lakh passengers every day. This means that if this initiative is expanded to the rest of the Central Railways, it could negatively impact the right to privacy of a larger number of passengers. Moreover, there is a lack of clarity on how long the body cam footage would be stored for and the safety of its storage systems. Where body cams could fail: One of the most notable examples of body cam usage is from the United States, where police officers have…
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