Project Panoptic Launch | Should India Ban Harmful Facial Recognition Systems?

To all our community members:

We are very excited to announce the launch of Project Panoptic, India’s first Facial Recognitions Technology systems tracker, which aims to bring transparency and demand accountability from the government stakeholders involved in the deployment and implementation of FRT projects in India.

The online platform will display information gathered and collected on various FRT projects across each state in India. This includes data points relating to the procurement, implementation and use of FRT projects by the Central Government, State Governments and various other public authorities in the country. Project Panoptic is the first of its kind in India, and is dedicated to combating surveillance issues related to the rise of FRTs.

In support of the launch of the project, IFF is hosting a digital event, “Project Panoptic: Should India Ban Harmful Facial Recognition Systems?”. We hope you will be able to attend and will be grateful if you can share the event in your networks.

Register here:

Date and Time: November 27, 2020 | 7 PM IST

Know your Speakers:


An aspect that struck me when reading the announcement was the framing as “Should India Ban Harmful FRT Systems”. Harmful systems (with clear definition of the scope and potential of harm) should ideally be regulated against - so I’d be curious to understand how it came to be framed in this form.



The thinking emerges from the petition that is specific to the state use of FRT systems that can result in legal impacts (one use is authentication) or law enforcement. At the same time personal use of FRT for instance in personal smartphone devices will not require a ban. Hence, the link of a harm principle will be necessary which links directly to its legal impact on a persons rights.

While, this framing was there in the webinar and is avoided in the petition, we are happy to flesh that out better based on discussion and any literature that you may think that should be considered. This is an active area of research and analysis and positions on it are still developing, so lets keep chatting!