Hyderabad, by means of its CCTV network and facial recognition technology, is one of the most surveilled cities in the world, and extensive surveillance here is putting human rights at risk, Amnesty International said in a statement.
The statement is a part of the Amnesty International’s Ban the Scan Campaign, which seeks to put an end to intrusive facial recognition technology.
“The city in Telangana State – one of the most surveilled cities in the world – has begun construction of an ominous ‘Command and Control Centre’ (CCC), intended to connect the State’s vast facial recognition - capable CCTV infrastructure in real time. In addition, a study by the Internet Freedom Foundation found that Telangana State has the highest number of facial recognition technology (FRT) projects in India,” a statement on the human rights organisation’s website reads.
The website quoted Amnesty International’s AI and Big Data researcher Matt Mahmoudi as saying that Hyderabad is on the brink of becoming a total surveillance city. “It is impossible to walk down the street without risking exposure to facial recognition,” he said.
Touching upon the police’s practices, he further stated, “In addition to CCTV, we are concerned that law enforcement’s practice of using tablets to stop, search and photograph civilians without charge could be used for facial recognition.”
“Authorities in India have a lengthy record of using facial recognition technology in contexts where human rights are at stake, with recent examples including enforcing COVID-19 lockdown measures, identifying voters in municipal elections, and policing protests. The rights of Muslims, Dalits, Adivasis, Transgender communities, and historically disadvantaged sections of society, are particularly at risk by mass surveillance,” the statement reads.