Home Minister, while replying to a Short duration discussion in Lok Sabha, revealed that Facial recognition technology is put to use to track down the Delhi riot suspects.

Short Duration discussion

It  is a procedural device at hand for members to raise discussion on matters of urgent public importance without a formal motion (that call for Voting)


  • Any member desirous of raising discussion on a matter of urgent public importance may give notice in writing to the Secretary-General.
    • S(He) must specify clearly and precisely the matter to be raised along with the notice shall be supported by the signatures of at least two other members.


  • If the Chairperson is satisfied that the matter is urgent and is of sufficient public importance to be raised in the Council at an early date, S(h)e may admit the notice and in consultation with the Leader of the Council fix the date of discussion.
    • S(He) also allows such time for discussion, not exceeding two and a half hours.

The time limit for speeches

It is up to Chairperson’s discretion to prescribe a time limit for speeches to be made by members.

More on News:

  1.  Voter ID, driving license and other details are being fed into the Facial recognition software to identify the suspects involved in serious crimes like murder and arson.
    1. Police have identified 1,100 people through facial recognition technology. 
    2. Chin and Eye are the two facial features that are being used to nab the suspects.
  2. The footage procured from CCTV, media persons and the public was matched with photographs stored in the database of Election Commission.
    1.  eVahan, a pan­India database of vehicle registration maintained by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is also being used.
  3. Social Media accounts are also being traced and suspected people are being charged under the IT Act.


  • Given that the facial recognition technology has entailed privacy concerns, this is for the first time on record that the Government has admitted to using the software.

Automated Facial Recognition Technology

The term gained ground following the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) request for Proposal for an Automated Facial Recognition System (AFRS) system for Police.

  • It will be in the form of a  mobile and web application that will be hosted in NCRB’s data center.

What is meant by automated facial recognition?

  • AFRS is a technology that maintains a large database consisting of photos and videos of people's faces. 

Types of Facial Recognition System

There exist two types of facial recognition software

  • The first one is called “one-to-one” and matches a single face image to another image. 
  • The other type of software, “one-to-many”, involves finding a facial match from images of crowds and has a lower accuracy rate.


  • Whenever a call for identification of a new suspect comes up, then the new image of the unidentified person,  often taken from CCTV footage — is compared with the images in the existing database to find a match.
  • Chin and Eye are the two facial features that are being used to nab the suspects.


  • The AFRS works on Artificial intelligence for finding and matching the pattern.
    • AI technology is called Neural Networks.


  1. The NCRB, which is entrusted with the management of crime data for police, has sought to use AFRS for identifying criminals, repeat offenders, missing people, unclaimed dead bodies, etc.
  2. It also seeks to use it for the Early prevention of Crime by resorting to evidence-based Policing.

System of Data Collection 

  1. CCTV footage, gathering photos from newspapers and sketches.
  2. Integration of facial recognition systems with existing databases most prominent being Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS). 
  3. It will also be integrated with the Integrated Criminal Justice System (ICJS), the Immigration, Visa and Foreigners Registration & Tracking (IVFRT), and the Khoya Paya portal on missing children.
  4. It is also ensured to make it compatible with other forms of biometrics like iris and fingerprints.

BN Srikrishna Committee

It had provided exemptions to the government for collecting such data for security, criminal investigations and crime prevention

  • It had, however, stipulated that these exceptions be authorized by a separate law and data collected only if it was “necessary for, and proportionate to” the government’s interests.

Issues and Concerns

  • Abuse of facial recognition technology by the Government, as it can be used to further social control.
  • Vulnerability to privacy concerns in the paucity of a Data Protection Law as The Personal Data Protection Bill is still in the discussion stage.
  • Debates are going around the world regarding both sides of it, the latest being European Commission discussing a blanket ban over it.
  • Utilitarian views
    • Facial recognition has indispensable use across several fields like 
      • Validating identity e.g. recent use of facial recognition in ascertaining the identity of voters in local elections Telangana. 
      • Law enforcement e.g. London is using it to police the city.
      • Unlocking mobile phones with ease.
      • Criminal investigation, in nabbing the culprits
      • Auto-tagging digital photos 
      • Finding missing persons and so on. 
  • Rights-based approach
    • It's a possible threat to privacy and civil liberties and could lead to surveillance by the State agencies.
      • e.g. China is surveilling its citizens in Xinjiang using facial recognition 
    • Possible misuse by private bodies and individuals collecting such data.

Also readFacial Recognition And Privacy

Rioters Identified Using Facial Recognition Technology (Summary)

Image Source: The Hindu