Indian Railways installs facial recognition system to track commuters

Indian Railways installs a facial recognition system to track commuters
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Indian Railways installs a facial recognition system 

Highlights

Indian Railways has installed a network of nearly 500 facial recognition cameras to track millions of daily commuters, a report in the Financial Times suggested.

Indian Railways has installed a network of nearly 500 facial recognition cameras to track millions of daily commuters, a report in the Financial Times suggested. According to the FT report, the system has been developed by a Russian company called NtechLab and has been operating for the past month at some 30 train stations in the state of Gujarat and Maharashtra, including Mumbai. The Mumbai local train is the daily transport of some seven million commuters.

The FT report says that India has stepped up the use of video surveillance, including facial recognition, across the country. The government has also reportedly issued an open tender for a central integrated system at the national level called National Automated Facial Recognition. The report quoted the makers of the facial recognition system installed by Indian Railways as saying that it could simultaneously recognize up to 50 people in a single frame, including those wearing masks, and the system will be able to count passenger traffic at any time. Furthermore, the creators told the publication that the system can identify criminals, track persons of interest through live images, and search for missing persons.

Critics have raised concerns about the impact such facial recognition systems could have on the privacy and civil liberties of people in the country. They fear this could be used to track protesters, as police used a similar facial recognition system called Trinetra to find and arrest more than 1,000 farmers who protested an anti-government rally.

The creators of the facial recognition system say this is one of the most challenging projects for the team, just because of the sheer volume of people entering the camera's field of view.

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