Recently, Telangana High Court on a PIL was filed by a social activist SQ Masood, issued a notice to the state government and the Hyderabad city police commissioner, seeking an explanation on the usage of facial recognition technology. Telangana police was supposedly using the technology to profile criminals and keep a watch on their activities as a part of its smart policing mission. There is currently no regulation on Artificial facial recognition technology, like 12-digit biometric based unique identification number called Aadhaar, in India. The Technology is prone to misuse. The petition argued police had discretionary powers to use the FRT on anyone, apart from covertly capturing photographs through CCTV cameras. The technology is not for a specific purpose but is used for mass surveillance. Several investigative reports by several newspapers revealed that the state government was deploying FRT for a wide range of activities including law enforce, supplying essential services and elections.
Petition further argued that the use of FRT restricts individuals’ right to privacy under Article 21 without complying with KS Puttaswamy v. Union of India’s four-fold test of legality, legitimate aim, proportionality and procedural safeguards. Since FRT involves the collection and storage of biometric and other personal information, petition alleged that it infringes the country’s Information & technology Act and IT rules on Sensitive data or information (SPDI) of 2011.
FRT is processing digital images of individuals’ faces for verification or identification of those individuals using artificial intelligence. In November 2021, Amnesty International declared Hyderabad as one of the most surveilled cities in the world, which is putting human rights at risk