With the onset of digitalization in almost all across the borders, India is planning to set up one of the world’s largest facial recognition systems for surveillance companies and a nightmare for privacy advocates who fear it will lead to a Chinese-style Orwellian state.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is known to have been opening bids next month. In oder to build a system to centralize facial recognition data captured through surveillance cameras across India. It would link up with databases containing records for everything from passports to fingerprints to help India’s depleted police force identify criminals, missing persons and dead bodies.
The government has mandated this move in order to design to build one of the world’s most understaffed police forces, which has one officer for every 724 citizens — well below global norms. It also could be a boon for companies: According to TechSci Research, it estimates that “India’s facial recognition market will grow six fold by 2024 to $4.3 billion, nearly on par with China.”
“We’re the only functional democracy which will set up such as system without any data protection or privacy laws,” said Apar Gupta, a Delhi-based lawyer and executive director of the Internet Freedom Foundation, a non-profit group whose members successfully lobbied the government in 2015 to ensure net neutrality and reject platforms like Facebook Inc.’s Free Basics. “It’s like a gold rush for companies seeking large unprotected databases.”