What is it?
- Face recognition is a technology capable of identifying or verifying a subject through an image, video or any audiovisual element of his face. Generally, this identification is used to access an application, system or service.
- The facial recognition system works primarily by recording the face and its features with a camera and then reconstructing those aspects with various types of software.
- The captured face, together with its features, is saved in a database, which may be combined with any type of software used for security, banking services, and so on.
How it works
- The big database (including images and videos of people’s faces) is utilised in the Automated Facial Recognition System (AFRS) to match and identify the person. Using Artificial Intelligence technology, an image of an unidentified person from CCTV footage is compared to the existing database for pattern-finding and matching.
- The use of iris scans, fingerprints and facial recognition to identify travellers has been operational in some international airports. They use algorithmic systems to get a face grab of passengers at the first security checkpoint.
- A camera scans the passenger’s face, and takes measurements of their facial features to build a biometric profile of them. And then, when the same person boards the flight, another camera takes a picture of their face and runs an algorithm to check whether the two images match with the boarding pass.
- It is increasingly being used for everything from mobile phone unlocking to identity verification, from auto-tagging digital photographs to tracking missing people, and from targeted advertising to law enforcement.
- In India, where there are only 144 constables for every 100,000 citizens, this can operate as a force multiplier. As a result, this technology, along with the existing personnel, has the potential to be a game changer.
- It is used for identification and authentication. The National Crime Records Bureau’s Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS), for example, uses computerised facial recognition to identify criminals, missing people, and unexplained dead bodies, as well as for crime prevention.
Why in News?
- Under the Digi Yatra initiative, Varanasi, Pune, Kolkata and Vijayawada airports are going to implement facial recognition technology which aims to make air travel paperless and hassle-free.
What is Digi Yatra?
- Digi Yatra initiative aims to make air travel paperless and hassle-free in the country, and proposes to simplify passenger-related processes at various checkpoints at the airport by using Facial recognition technology-based biometric scanning.
- Once implemented, air travellers who choose to use the service won’t have to show their tickets, boarding passes, or physical identity cards at several points at the airport. This in turn would reduce queue waiting time and accelerate processing time.
- The Ministry of Civil Aviation plans to build an identity management platform that will enable biometric-based scanning across all airports in India. The platform will include passengers’ digital identities, like Aadhaar, passport details or other identity cards.
- The ‘Common Digi Yatra ID’ platform will be used to enrol passengers, authenticate their data, and share consenting passengers’ profiles with other airport partners. The app-based interface will be built as a shared national infrastructure, which will provide APIs to airports. It will also allow other apps to be integrated with it.
- According to the Aviation ministry, the biometric information collected from the passengers will be deleted 24 hours after flight departure and will also be compliant with the country’s data privacy and protection practices.
- A growing body of research shows that biometric scanning technologies coupled with AI have an inherent bias. A report by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology noted that facial recognition technology found Black, Brown and Asian individuals to be 100 times more likely to be misidentified than white male faces.
- India introduced the Personal Data Protection Bill (PDPB), 2019 in the Parliament, which falls short of the standards set by the Justice Srikrishna Committee. The Bill fails to build a legal structure on the landmark Justice K.S. Puttaswamy vs Union of India judgment on the right of privacy. It diverges from the Committee’s 2018 draft, which proposed a judicial oversight in selecting members of the Data Protection Authority.
- Globally, the rapid adoption of Facial Recognition Technology (FRT) raises several concerns, primarily related to the possibility of the technology’s potential to undermine the right to privacy. Policies focused on mitigating risks associated with use of FRT must be developed to protect personal data.
- Artificial intelligence and big data are expensive to implement. The amount of data stored is enormous, necessitating the use of massive network and data storage facilities, both of which are currently unavailable in India.