Telangana state, India, is to face court action for the illegal use of facial recognition by its police forces. The action is being taken by social activist SQ Masood, who alleges Hyderabad City Police had forced him to remove his mask while he was returning home from work during the COVID-19 pandemic so that they could take his photograph and verify his identity.
Backed by the Internet Freedom Foundation, the June 2021 notice claimed Masood's photographs were likely being fed into a facial recognition database, and argued that state use of facial recognition 'is not backed by law, is unnecessary, disproportionate, and is being done without any safeguards to prevent misuse'.
Telangana state has amongst the highest density of CCTV cameras in the world, and boasts the most known government facial recognition projects in India. Amnesty International has accused Hyderabad of becoming a 'total surveillance city'.