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India to open bids for companies to create centralized facial recognition system

"India Is Planning a Huge China-Style Facial Recognition Program", 19 September 2019

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government will open bids [in October 2019] 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... TechSci Research estimates India’s facial recognition market will grow sixfold by 2024 to $4.3 billion, nearly on par with China... [T]he project is also ringing alarm bells in a nation with no data privacy laws and a government that just shut down the internet for the last seven weeks in the key state of Kashmir to prevent unrest... [T]he lack of proper safeguards opens the door for abuses... “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.

... Foreign surveillance companies operating in India include CP Plus, DahuaPanasonic Corp., Bosch Security SystemsHoneywell International Inc., and D-Link India Ltd. Many Indian companies won’t be able to bid on the facial-recognition system because the current tender requires them to meet standards established by the U.S. National Institute of Science and Technology, according to Atul Rai, chief executive officer of Staqu Technologies, an Indian startup.

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