Delhi government schools facial recognition 'privacy abuse'

Occurred: March 2021

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Indian digital rights group Internet Freedom Foundation has discovered that facial recognition technologies are being used in at least a dozen government-funded schools in Delhi, opening the authorities to accusations of 'overreach' and an invasion of childrens' privacy. 

The facial recognition systems were installed without laws to regulate the collection and use of data. India proposed a national privacy law in July 2018, though it still remains in draft early 2023. The move followed a 2019 decision by the Delhi government to mount CCTV cameras in over 700 public schools to ensure the safety of students, and to reduce truancy.

The installation of the facial recognition technology was discovered through a Right to Information query filed with the Directorate of Education in December 2020 by the Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF). According to the IFF, the Government of Delhi failed to inform its various stakeholders of which company is supplying the hardware and software, what the system was for, how it worked, and how the personal data of students and employees was managed.

Operator: Government of Delhi
Country: India
Sector: Education
Purpose: Verify student identity
Technology: CCTV; Facial recognition; Facial matching
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Appropriateness/need; Privacy; Security; Surveillance
Transparency: Governance; Marketing; Privacy

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: January 2023