Facial Recognition Technology in India

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Facial Recognition Technology in India

Facial Recognition Technology in India
August 31, 2021
By Elonnai Hickok, Pallavi Bedi, Aman Nair and Amber Sinha
Reviewed by Daragh Murray, Peter Fussey, Amy Stevens and Arindrajit Basu

Joint report from The Centre for Internet and Society, India and the HRBDT project.


Over the past two decades there has been a sustained effort at digitising India’s governance structure in order to foster development and innovation. The field of law enforcement and safety has seen significant change in that direction, with technological tools such as Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) and Facial Recognition Technology (FRT) increasingly being deployed by the government.

Yet for all its increased use, there is still a lack of a coherent legal and regulatory framework governing FRT in India. Towards informing such a framework, this paper seeks to document present uses of FRT in India, specifically by law enforcement agencies and central and state governments, understand the applicability of existing legal frameworks to the use of FRT, and define key areas that need to be addressed when using the technology in India. We also briefly look at how the coverage of FRT has increased beyond law enforcement; it now covers educational institutions, employment purposes, and it is now being used for providing Covid-19 vaccines.