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When it comes to technology, it seems Indian Railways is not the one to hold back. While facial recognition technology at airports and metro stations has been aiding in contending the increasing influx of passengers, Indian railways plans to implement this system for all new reasons. Planning a complete overhaul of security at railway stations, the Indian railways is all set to introduce an AI-backed facial recognition to identify criminals. The Railway Protection Force, which is in charge of the security around national transport, plans to link facial recognition systems (FRS) with existing criminal database from the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems.
After a successful test run in Bangalore, where contactless, non-invasive FRS covered more than 200,000 passengers and involved nine different cameras, discussions are underway to install 150 facial recognition cameras at the Bangalore city station. The next wave is expected to cover metros like Delhi and Mumbai, before expanding to the suburban rail network of Chennai and Kolkata.
However, this move has received considerable amount of flak for potentially violating the privacy of an individual and putting their data at risk. As per Supreme Court’s right to privacy judgement, internet freedom activists state that there is a need for a legislative framework that will render such projects illegal. Currently, there are some airports under the Airport Authority of India that have deployed facial recognition system and are hence under the radar.
This proposal was first drafted in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. The system was initially tested 6-7 years ago, but with delay in the recognition and many false alarms, it proved to be inefficient. But the current system is expected to significantly cut down criminal acts at stations and will be able to identify the criminal even if the photo in the database is 10 years old.
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