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 children’s privacy. 

The move to follows 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 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 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. 

The Government of Delhi has failed to inform its various stakeholders of which company is supplying the hardware and software, what the system is for, how it works, and how the personal data of students and employees is 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