Facial recognition taken to court in India’s surveillance hotspot

‎Lawsuit challenges facial recognition as unconstitutional in Telangana, the state using the most facial recognition systems.

It was lockdown in the Indian city of Hyderabad when activist S Q Masood was stopped on the street by police who asked him to remove his face mask and then took his picture, giving no reason and ignoring his objections.

Worried about how the photographs would be used, Masood sent a legal notice to the city’s police chief. But after receiving no response, he filed suit last month over Telangana state’s use of facial recognition systems – the first such case in India.

Being Muslim and having worked with minority groups that are frequently targeted by the police, I’m concerned that my photo could be matched wrongly and that I could be harassed,” Masood, 38, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“It is also about my right to privacy, and my right to know why my photograph was taken, what it will be used for, who can access it, and how it’s protected. Everyone has a right to know this information,” he said.

Facial recognition technology, which is increasingly used for everything from unlocking mobile phones to checking in at airports, uses artificial intelligence (AI) to match live images of a person against a database of images.



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