Amit Shah in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday
Amit Shah in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday had admitted in Parliament that the Central government is identifying 1,100 people who participated in the Delhi riots that killed over 50 people.

During his speech, Shah said that government data of its citizens, has been linked with facial recognition technology to identify the accused. Government data is usually collected through PAN Cards, voter IDs, driver's licence, and even Aadhaar cards.

However, there is a fundamental issue with this. Facial recognition is a flawed system. In 2018, according to a PTI report, the Delhi police had informed the Delhi High Court that the accuracy of facial recognition software used by police to trace individuals was only 2 per cent.

In 2019, however, according to another PTI report, the accuracy had gone from 2 per cent to 1 per cent. The Centre had issued a directive to the police to upgrade the software after the Ministry of Women and Child development told the Delhi High Court that the software was so poor that it sometimes matched pictures of boys with that of girls.

Interestingly, the Delhi police did not use the software just to find missing people, but also, as per its annual report, intended to use it at public gatherings. It's probably this way that Shah will link government data to track those involved in the riots.

It's not just the Delhi police who feel that the software is flawed. London's Metropolitan Police's trial of the technology failed 80 per cent of the time, according to this report.

Twitter user Meghand, while citing the Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF), even said that there was zero legal basis to the facial recognition system. And even the judges in the Delhi High Court have expressed concern about the same.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal