The Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) in India’s Haryana state is extending its biometric surveillance network. The Department has already installed 1,130 cameras at 212 locations throughout the city, and is increasing that number with eight new facial recognition cameras that will watch those entering and exiting the city’s MG Road Metro station.
Another eight cameras will be deployed at Sikanderpur station in the next few days. The GMDA is also hoping to move forward with another project at Huda City Centre station, though it is still waiting for permission from the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.
All of the new cameras are monitored on a 24/7 basis at the Department’s Integrated Command and Control Center (ICCC), where a team of seven officers has been tasked with monitoring the live feeds from the stations and the city in real time. The city’s CCTV cameras have primarily been used to automate traffic enforcement, giving the police a way to identify vehicles and issue fines when people run red lights or perform other traffic violations.
However, the GMDA cameras do have facial recognition capabilities, and can be used to monitor the population at large. The city signed a contract for CCTV surveillance cameras with NEC back in 2019.
The footage from the new metro cameras is stored for a period of up to 30 days. The GMDA argues that the cameras will help cut down on purse-snatching incidents, since it will allow them to identify thieves who grab bags during rush hour and try to disappear into the crowd. The tech is already being used to issue an average of around 1,700 traffic fines every single day, and has led to the capture of suspects in some higher-profile murder and theft investigations.
Indian Railways previously installed facial recognition cameras from NtechLab. The government, meanwhile, has been trying to expand its own facial recognition networks despite opposition from Indian privacy advocates, and despite several high-profile facial recognition controversies. Facial recognition was used to arrest more than 1,000 protestors in early 2020, while the Telangana police have been accused of harassing people on the street to add new faces to its facial recognition database.
Source: Hindustan Times
June 7, 2022 – by Eric Weiss