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Telangana HC Issues notice to state govt over deployment of Facial Recognition Technology

Telangana HC Issues notice to state govt over deployment of Facial Recognition Technology
4 Jan, 2022

The Telangana High Court has issued a notice to the state government regarding the deployment of Facial Recognition Technology (FRT) following a plea was filed stating that the use of the FRT restricted the right to privacy, without complying with the applicable law.   

According to a report, the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) also stated that there was no law that empowered the government to use FRT, and there was no clear objective to its deployment. 

The plea was filed by Hyderabad-based social activist S.Q. Masood. A High Court bench comprising Justice Abhinand Kumar Shavili and Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma has issued the notice to the government. 

The litigant argued that the deployment of the FRT has no legal binding, is unnecessary, disproportionate and is being carried out in a manner that does not provide for adequate safety against any misuse.   

The petitioner moved to the High Court after he was allegedly made to remove his mask and undergo facial recognition by over 8-10 police officers in the Telangana Capital, although the pandemic was well underway. 

Masood also said that they had taken his picture without his consent, even though he did not commit any offence.   

To figure out the legal basis of the actions, the litigant sent a letter to the Police Commissioner of Hyderabad, who did not heed to the legal notice. Thereafter, Masood moved to the High Court.   

The PIL, which was drawn with legal assistance from the Internet Freedom Foundation, which is an iteration from the save the internet movement for net neutrality, back in 2012, claimed that Telangana was the most surveilled place in the world, with the state government deploying FRT for a range of purposes including elections, supplying essential services and law enforcement.