1,100 rioters identified using facial recognition technology: Amit Shah

People supporting the new citizenship law and those opposing it clash during a protest in the city on February 24.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Home Minister Amit Shah said on Wednesday said that police are using facial recognition software to track down the suspects involved in the Delhi riots that killed 53 people

Mr. Shah said officers had fed Voter ID, driving licence and other details into the software to identify the suspects involved in serious crimes like murder and arson.

“Police have identified 1,100 people through the facial recognition technology. Nearly 300 people came from Uttar Pradesh. It was a planned conspiracy,” said Mr. Shah while replying to a short duration discussion on Delhi riots in Lok Sabha.

He said the footage procured from Close Circuit Television Cameras (CCTV) and other mediums was being scientifically analysed. “CCTV footage is being analysed on 25 computers. The software does not recognise religion. Action will be taken against anyone found indulging in the act, no one will be spared,” Mr. Shah said.

Earlier, Delhi Police had used the technology during various anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) protests in the city. This is the first time the government has admitted using the software that also has privacy concerns.

A senior Delhi Police officer told The Hindu that the footage procured from CCTV, media persons and the public was matched with photographs stored in the database of Election Commission and e-Vahan, a pan-India database of vehicle registration maintained by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

Matching of photos

“Our personnel were also recording videos when the riots were on. Once we had clear video footage, the software was used to match the photographs with that in the database of EC and e-Vahan to identify the suspects. Basically, even if someone changes his appearance, the chin and the eye do not change. These are the two key facial features that will help us nab the suspects,” said the police officer.

The officer added that most of the 300 suspects who came from Uttar Pradesh to carry out the violence had criminal records against them and their culpability was established through the facial recognition software.

Delhi Police has been taking the help of private software companies to use the technology in aiding the investigations. “We have the photographs and the database. All we have to do is to key in a particular geographical area and the software matches the two set of photographs,” the officer said.

Social media accounts

He said the police had identified 60 social media accounts that were created on February 22 to create unrest and were deactivated on February 26.

“Twenty five cases have been registered under the Information Technology Act. The riots were engineered and the social media accounts were used to organise protests when [U.S. President] Donald Trump was here. They think they will escape the law if they deactivate the accounts, nobody will be spared, they will be fished out,” Mr. Shah said.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 12:41:39 AM |

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