Hyderabad: The State Election Commission is not the first organisation in the state to use facial recognition tools. For over a year now, the state police has been using the technology through its TSCOP app for various purposes. In fact, the police department has been criticised for using the tool on pedestrians walking on roads to screen “habitual offenders.”
Pensioners across the state are already using T-App Folio — an umbrella app for the government’s e-governance initiatives — to authenticate themselves via facial recognition.
In fact, the moves by the state government and the SEC mirror a pan-India trend. For instance, the Delhi police was recently criticised for using facial recognition to identify protesters.
Srinivas Kodali, an independent researcher in cybersecurity and a columnist based in Hyderabad, one of many people who are opposed to facial recognition and the collection of personal data, believe it is an invasion of privacy. Mr Kodali said, “There is no law that allows government organisations to collect this data. The way it is being done right now, there are checks and balances as to what happens to this data. If they want to continue doing this, they should pass a law governing this data. Why can’t the Telangana state government do this?”
Mr Kodali felt that there was no oversight. He said the departments that use this technology claim they don’t store citizen data. He wondered how could they be trusted to delete the data when there is no law that requires them to do so.
“We have already seen the abuse of technology by police screen commuters through facial recognition. What’s to stop them from making lives even more difficult?” he asked....