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National Informatics Centre Cancels Tender for Surveillance During Polls After Election Commission’s Direction

The tender outlines plans for live webcasting the voting and counting process and to set up a “centralized command and control center” to monitor the activities in real time.

Update on January 20, 2024: The National Informatics Centre (NIC) has withdrawn the tender issued in December for empanelment of agencies to provide surveillance equipment for elections, examinations, etc. In view of threats posed to citizens' privacy by the proposed surveillance plan during elections, the Election Commission of India (ECI) directed NIC to cancel the tender and stated that the tender was issued without ECI's approval. The move comes after the Internet Freedom Foundation wrote a letter to the ECI highlighting the concerns based on MediaNama's detailed coverage of the tender early January. Read the original story below. Original story published on January 9, 2024: The National Informatics Centre (NIC) had issued a tender in December for procurement and deployment of surveillance equipment including drones and facial recognition systems for monitoring election processes during state and central elections. The NIC, formed under the IT Ministry, provides IT infrastructure for several e-governance projects and other government websites. The tender outlines plans for live webcasting the voting and counting process and to set up a “centralized command and control center” to monitor the activities in real time. The NIC says that this is being done to prevent unfair practices and maintain law and order at polling stations during elections. “Identification of locations for webcasting – Election Commission desires that web casting should be done from as many Polling Stations and Counting halls as possible. Efforts should be made for webcasting from all Polling Stations and counting halls where internet connection is possible. For…

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Curious about the intersection of technology with education, caste and welfare rights. For story tips, please feel free to reach out at sarasvati@medianama.com

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