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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.

Shanghai,
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.

Also Read- Social Media Giant Facebook Acquires Virtual Search Start-up to Grow its AI

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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Novel Coronavirus: Government Deploys Health Team on Nepal Border

Many Indian students studying in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak have been stuck there

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Coronavirus
The Coronavirus outbreak, which has so far caused 41 deaths in China, and caused the country to quarantine 16 cities, is causing comparisons to the 2003 spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, which decreased the value of the global economy by $40 billion. VOA

In the wake of a confirmed case of novel coronavirus in Nepal, the Union Health Ministry has subsequently strengthened its vigil in the areas bordering Nepal.

The recent deployment of health team has taken place at Panitanki in West Bengal, entry point from Nepal, said the Health Ministry on Monday.

“Update on #ncov2020 – Subsequent to confirmed #coronarvirus case in #Nepal, vigil strengthened at Panitanki (West Bengal) entry point from Nepal,” the ministry tweeted.

Earlier on Sunday the ministry had informed that in response to confirmed case of the new virus in the neighbourhood country Nepal, India stepped up vigil in districts bordering Nepal. The health ministry said that teams of medical experts were also deployed at border outpost with Nepal at Jhulaghat and Jauljibi in Pithoragarh district in Uttarakhand.

Coronavirus
Southeast Asia’s proximity to China and dependence on that nation for a major share of its economy is raising concerns that the coronavirus outbreak  that started there will not only have health impacts but harm the region’s economies. VOA

In continuation of its efforts to stop the virus from entering in India and making the passengers aware, the ministry has also displayed signage advising the passengers for self reporting and other precautions, disseminated through advisories, at the Mumbai airport.

According to the health ministry, a total of 29,707 passengers from 137 flights have been screened. Fortunately, no case of coronavirus has been found till date.

Also Read: Patients May Suffer Invasive Treatments for Harmless Cancers: Researchers

According to the announcement made by Chinese health authorities on Monday, 2,744 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), including 461 in critical condition and a total of 5,794 suspected cases have also been reported. The killer virus has caused 80 deaths in China, as per Chinese authorities.

Many Indian students studying in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak have been stuck there. The health ministry said it is working closely with the Ministry of External Affairs and is in touch with the students. (IANS)