IFF proposes a three year moratorium on the use of Facial Recognition

Even though we are in the middle of an unusual crisis, lets not forget that there is a constant need to protect our fundamental rights. Use of facial recognition in conjunction with thermal imaging is now being proposed for identifying Covid-19 patients. All this without a data protection law in place. There is no guarantee of privacy and such use could lead to further societal harms. There have been multiple news reports wherein it is being reported that suspected patients are being ostracized by their communities. Thus, the need for a strong data protection law is now greater than ever.

Read IFF’s position on facial recognition technology in the blogpost below and let us know your views about this invasive technology. Looking forward to a lively discussion.


Anddddd add to that THIS NON SENSE BELOW:
He just shared the list of indivuals in a 14 day home quarantine online! It includes their addresses as well…

Before I start let me warn you I’m just a layman whose vocabulary isn’t great and who doesn’t know a lotta technical terms. My language here might not sound very professional to you guys but Ill try my best to make my point.

I just read IFFs recccomendation. A moratorium sounds great! However I had a few doubts…

So IFF has recommended a 3 year moratorium on the use of FRT during which we’d dicuss the checks and balances before it’s implementation right?

So in the IFF’s representation requesting a moratorium on facial recognition technology mentioned at the bottom of the article, under “Recommendations by IFF” point 17, you’ve suggests this :

Could you pl elaborate on this one? As in, how exactly would we go about implementing the checks and balances on state usage of FRT? Do you guys have that figured out already or that comes eventually as we work towards the measures?..

I tried looking and I found another document on IFF titled Ethical Use of Facial Recognition Act

In the document they had some recommendations like this one below :

Sounds nice. Are these some of the checks and balances you were referring to in the article or do you some other suggestions as well?

P. S: I’ll try and get a better pdf editor next time to highlight the text :stuck_out_tongue:

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Presently, India does not have sufficient privacy safeguards in place when it comes to surveillance carried out by the government especially surveillance which will become possible via facial recognition technology. The frameworks currently in place (under India’s Information Technology Act and the Telegraph Act) are geared towards national security and fail to adequately protect privacy. In particular there is a lack of sufficient institutional or legislative oversight. Thus, we propose that there is a need for a separate chapter on surveillance reform in the Personal Data Protection Bill along the lines of the Indian Privacy Code, 2018 .

This brief on the PDP bill will help give you more insight particularly part 7 which talks about surveillance reform.

Also check out this blogpost for what we consider other essential features, in addition to surveillance reform, that should be included in the Personal Data Protection Bill.

It seems that the Delhi Police is actively pursuing acquiring Facial Recognition software and surveillance. Tender Notice Purchase of Open Sources, Social and Internet Media Monitoring Software (Tender Notice 2 - pp19).

This is such an important issue with really high risks involved. Lately IBM and Amazon announced that they’re going to stop developing facial recognition tech for law enforcement agencies, which is a welcome in the direction of privacy and racial discrimination as a whole.

I also read about Facial recognition tech being setup across all railway stations across the country, can somebody confirm if this is legit?


Yes it is true.

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Congratulations on the launch of the Panoptic project.

One question regarding the petition on the website, which I was just about to sign.

The IFF was calling for a moratorium but the title of the petition and text at https://panoptic.in/petition and https://panoptic.in/sign-the-petition calls for a ban. Is there a reason for a change in wording over time?


Hi Rohan,
Thanks for the feedback on the website! Yes, we did move away from our earlier stance as are after deliberation within the organisation as well as after discussions we had with international civil society members, we were of the opinion that use of this technology cannot be allowed under any circumstance.


Thanks. This decision sounds reasonable and I am also of the opinion that FRTs should not be used to this scale looking at the evidences available. My doubt stemmed from the sentence at the end of the petition, which seemed to contradict with the previous sentence (probably in line with the previous stance):

Further, we urge you to halt all ongoing facial recognition technology projects being developed and deployed at the Central and State level until a legislation with sufficient safeguards that helps protect the privacy of the citizens of India.

If our stance is that the use of this technology should be banned, it implies that it can’t be regulated effectively. Even a regulation or safeguard, will probably not be able to solve the issues with the technology itself such as the inherent biases due to the dataset used, blackbox tech etc. One fine day, the government will bring in a redressal mechanism and will we accept FRT then?

Shouldn’t we then remove this line asking for legislation? Or maybe this line was intended for (or can be rephrased to address) the CCTV problem?

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Hi, the legislation we are asking for here is the privacy legislation. Once in place, we are of the opinion that an FRT system will not be able to pass the safeguards laid down since it fails to pass the even the Puttuswamy standards.