Right to Information (RTI) responses received by the Internet Freedom Foundation reveal that the Delhi Police treats matches of above 80% similarity generated by its facial recognition technology (FRT) system as positive results.
- Facial recognition is an algorithm-based technology which creates a digital map of the face by identifying and mapping an individual’s facial features, which it then matches against the database to which it has access.
- It can be used for two purposes:
- firstly, 1:1 verification of identity wherein the facial map is obtained for the purpose of matching it against the person’s photograph on a database to authenticate their identity. For example, 1:1 verification is used to unlock phones. However, increasingly it is being used to provide access to any benefits or government schemes.
- Secondly, there is the 1:n identification of identity wherein the facial map is obtained from a photograph or video and then matched against the entire database to identify the person in the photograph or video. Law enforcement agencies such as the Delhi Police usually procure FRT for 1:n identification.
- The use of FRT presents two issues: issues related to misidentification due to inaccuracy of the technology and issues related to mass surveillance due to misuse of the technology.