Right To Privacy

Issues with the use of facial recognition technology

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Right to privacy

Mains level : Paper 2- Issues with use of facial recognition technologies by the police

Context

According to police officials, more than six lakh CCTV cameras have already been deployed in the city, with the very real possibility that this number will continue to increase. These all-pervasive cameras will soon be connected in a real-time network managed by Hyderabad’s Command and Control Centre.

Opposition to facial recognition technologies

  • How it work: Facial recognition technology identifies the distinct features of a person’s face to create a biometric map, which an algorithm then matches to possible individuals.
  • The system searches across databases of millions of images, scraped without knowledge or consent, and often fails.
  • Severe scrutiny: The use of facial recognition technology is already under severe scrutiny around the world, with some jurisdictions, including Belgium and Luxembourg, having already banned its use.
  • Ban by EU: The European Union is in the process of finalising and passing one of the most comprehensive bans on facial recognition technology yet, while in the United States, multiple city- and state-level bans and moratoria have been imposed.
  • More than 200 organisations have called for a global ban on the use of biometric surveillance technologies that enable mass and discriminatory surveillance, while even Facebook announced that it would be shutting down its facial recognition programme.

Issues with use of facial recognition technologies in India

  • Violation of right to privacy: The right to privacy was recognised as a fundamental right, included under the right to life and liberty by the Supreme Court of India in 2017.
  • Absence of legal framework: Without a law in place to regulate data collection and to act as an oversight mechanism, valid concerns about privacy and other rights violations continue to arise.
  • Huge amounts of public money are being spent on these technologies with no evidence of their effectiveness, further squandering precious public funds.

Conclusion

Government programmes such as Safe City, Smart City and the Nirbhaya Fund have been utilised to bankroll these projects — yet the human rights violations that occur as a result of their use far outweigh any purported benefit that these technologies claim to provide.

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