Home Ministry moves to get automated facial recognition system for police
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) – a wing of the Union Home Ministry (MHA) that maintains statistics on crime across the country – wants Automated Facial Recognition System (AFRS).
Face recognition technology – a biometric identification system – has raised issues of privacy concern across the world. Nonetheless, the technology is already in use in schools, airports and even to track criminals.
Playing down a possible controversy and concern about privacy, a Home Ministry official said, “The technology will be used primarily to trace missing children, unidentified dead bodies, and criminals whose details are available in the Crime and Criminal Control System (CCTNS).”
The CCTNs is a countrywide database of suspects and those who are wanted for investigations.
Officials said the facial recognition system would help track down suspects using face images from CCTV feed by generating alerts if a blacklist match is found.
It should also enable law enforcement officers to capture a face on the field and get the matching result from the backend server.
The NCRB, in its advertisement, says the technology “is a great investigation enhancer for identification of criminals, missing children/persons, unidentified dead bodies and unknown traced children/persons. It can provide Investigating Officers of the Civil Police with the required tools, technology, and information. This would greatly facilitate the investigation of crime and detection of criminals and provide information for easier and faster analysis.”
Giving out the details of how the AFRS system will be used, the NCRB says it will be used by all “state police” organizations and the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The MHA will be the nodal agency for AFRS, the NCRB has clarified.
The NCRB says the system must be “web-based application” that can be accessed through a web browser on computers and even on mobile phones.
The system should be capable of “identifying or verifying a person from various kinds of photo inputs from a digital image file to a video source. The system shall offer logical algorithms and user-friendly, simple graphical user interface making it easy to perform the facial matching.”