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Vol.16 Issue 1 (2020)

Facing up to the Risks of Automated Facial-Recognition Technologies in Indian Law Enforcement

Ameen Jauhar

Within the larger discourse of risk mitigation of emerging technologies, the ever-expanding deployment of automated facial recognition technology (‘AFRT’) has garnered much skepticism. In India too, there has been a reported rise of states and law enforcement officials enthusiastically resorting to the use of AFRT.
The author will first delve into some of the controversial risks associated with AFRT, analysing them through the lens of Article 21 and the principle of due process under the Indian Constitution. The paper will then identify some of the regulatory solutions that are currently part of the discourse on minimising risks of AFRT and balancing their use with constitutional values, and fundamental and human rights. In particular, this discourse will examine an arguable temporary moratorium on AFRT, or alternatively, imposing statutory limitations on their prevalent use. For this, the paper will delve deeper into the governance and regulatory frameworks being deliberated and designed in the United States (‘US’) and the European Union (‘EU’), which are two jurisdictions putatively leading this discourse. The final segment of this paper will propose a way-forward strategy for India, drawing from the international discourse.


The author is a Senior Resident Fellow at the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, currently
heading its Centre for Applied Law & Technology Research, and working on judicial
reforms with the JALDI mission

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