HYDERABAD TO BECOME A TOTAL SURVEILLANCE CITY, WARNS AMNESTY

Amnesty International, the UK based non-profit, has said in a statement that Hyderabad, one of the biggest most populous metropolises in India could become a total surveillance city. The agency highlights the intense use of CCTV surveillance and facial recognition in the city by the Telangana police as a curb to human rights and the protection of privacy of citizens. ‘Dangerous facial recognition features against its citizens’, states Amnesty in a statement on Automated Harassment in Hyderabad on Tuesday.

 

As part of the ‘Ban the Scan’ campaign, Amnesty’s AI big Data researcher Matt Mahmoudi says it is nearly impossible to walk through the city without being caught by an AI scanner. This brings high risk to the security of the people, the agency says. “The city in Telangana state – one of the most surveilled cities in the world – has begun construction of an ominous ‘Command and Control Centre’ (CCC), intended to connect the state’s vast facial recognition-capable CCTV infrastructure in real time. In addition, a study by the Internet Freedom Foundation found that Telangana state has the highest number of facial recognition technology (FRT) projects in India”, the statement reads. The organisation also says that it puts the most vulnerable sections of society at risk. 

 

Amnesty and ARTICLE 19 worked on the construction of the Command Control Centre in the Banjara hills, saying it curbs the right to freedom of expression and assembly. “Facial recognition technology can track who you are, where you go, what you do, and who you know. It threatens human rights including the right to privacy, and puts some of the most vulnerable in society at risk. The construction of the CCC has chilling consequences for the right to freedom of expression and assembly,” said Quinn McKew ED of ARTICLE 19. “The CCC reportedly supports processing of data from upto 600,000 cameras at once, with the possibility to increase the scope much further across the region. These cameras can be used in combination with Hyderabad police’s existing facial recognition software to track individuals”, Amnesty stated. 

 

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