What is facial recognition technology? How is it being used by the government? Examine the issues associated with it.

Facial recognition is an algorithm-based technology which creates a digital map of the face by identifying and mapping an individual’s facial features. Then through an automated process, it compares two images of faces to determine whether they represent the same individual.

Benefits of Facial recognition technology:

  • Finding missing people, Identification of Missing Children.
  • Identifying criminals.
  • Better security measures in banks and airports.

Current uses:

  • Delhi Police used it to identify approximately 3000 missing children.
  • Pehchaan citizen app in Uttar Pradesh.
  • The Digi-Yatra policy for a seamless, hassle-free, and paperless air journey.
  • Used for identification during riots and violences.

Challenges:

  • Costly infrastructure needed.
  • Huge network & data storage facilities needed.
  • Issues related to Privacy of an individual in absence of data privacy law.
  • Issues related to the reliability & authenticity of the system and problems with false positive identification.
  • Mass Surveillance due to misuse of the technology.

Way forward:

Given the complex security challenges, huge population and lack of manpower, this technology can become a game changer. However, strong data protection law and safeguards against the associated issues are needed before its wide scale implementation.

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