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India Not Prepared To Tackle The Misuse of Facial Recognition Technology

In India, Duggal said, anybody can misuse this technology without fears of facing any adverse legal consequences

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Shanghai,
Rana el Kaliouby, CEO of the Boston-based artificial intelligence firm Affectiva, demonstrates the company's facial recognition technology, in Boston, April 23, 2018. VOA

While the usage of facial recognition technology is growing across the world, the absence of any data protection and data privacy law in India makes the country ill-prepared to deal with the misuse of the technology, experts said on Friday.

“There is no legal mechanism to stop misuse of facial recognition technology in India,” Pavan Duggal, one of the nation’s top cyber law experts, told IANS, adding that the Information Technology Act does not specially deal with misuse of this technology.

There is also not any blanket ban on the use of this technology, perhaps because of the benefits that could accrue from the proper usage of the technology that dramatically cuts down the amount of time needed for identifying people or objects in photos and video.

In April last year, for example, Delhi Police could identify almost 3,000 missing children in just four days during a trial of a facial recognition system.

While the benefits of the technology for law enforcement agencies in fighting crime and identifying missing people and also for the industry for business purposes cannot be denied, it is the misuse of the technology that can put the citizens of the country in trouble.

“The first casualty of the absence of regulatory framework for facial recognition technology is people’s right to privacy,” Duggal said.

“In India, there is not even any framework to regulate the storage of facial recognition data. Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the situation and they are making such data available on the Dark Net,” he added.

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A U.S. Customs and Border Protection facial recognition device is ready to scan another passenger at a United Airlines gate. VOA

Some of the major technology giants including Microsoft and Amazon also agree that there is a need for governments to regulate this technology.

In a blog post in December 2018, Microsoft President Brad Smith pointed out that certain uses of this technology can increase the risk of biased decisions and outcomes, intrusions into people’s privacy and also encroach on democratic freedoms if the technology is used for mass surveillance.

While defending its own facial recognition technology Rekognition, saying there has been not a single report of misuse of the technology by law enforcement, Amazon Web Services (AWS) on Friday said it also supports the creation of a legislative framework covering facial recognition through video and photographic monitoring on public or commercial premises.

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In India, Duggal said, anybody can misuse this technology without fears of facing any adverse legal consequences.

“Here law has not been able to protect the citizen,” he said, adding that self-regulation of facial recognition will not be effective.

“The quicker we are able to provide effective legal mechanism to regulate facial recognition technology, better it is for the country and its citizens,” Duggal added. (IANS)

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Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt Takes Pledge Not to Support Citizenship Amendment Act

The Bill, which has since become an Act, will provide Indian nationality to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists fleeing persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh

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Mahesh Bhatt
After attending the press meet, Mahesh Bhatt on Sunday tweeted: We the people of India , having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC.(At Ambedkar's abode. After reading the Preamble of our Constitution)". Wikimedia Commons

Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt on Sunday took a pledge not to support the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

He along with Congress leader Sanjay Jha joined a protest meet here. A video is doing the rounds on the Internet in which Bhatt is seen taking the pledge, perhaps a few days back.

“We believe Citizenship Amendment Bill is discriminatory and it violates the constitutional values. We don’t accept this bill and if it becomes a law we shall boycott its execution. We pledge not to submit any documents if asked to prove our citizenship,” he has said in the video.

After attending the press meet, Bhatt on Sunday tweeted: We the people of India , having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC.(At Ambedkar’s abode. After reading the Preamble of our Constitution).”

Several parts of India have been witnessing violent protests ever since the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed in Lok Sabha last week. The situation further escalated after the bill was cleared in Rajya Sabha.

The Bill, which has since become an Act, will provide Indian nationality to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists fleeing persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Mahesh Bhatt
Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt on Sunday took a pledge not to support the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Wikimedia Commons

The issue has caused widespread unprecedented violent protests in the northeast, especially in the states of Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya, with the agitating demonstrators demanding the withdrawal of the CAA claiming that the fresh legislation would jeopardize the demographic situations and life, culture and socio-economic positions to the 45.58 million populations of region.

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On Sunday afternoon, four buses were burnt in South Delhi as protesters clashed with police. (IANS)