Hyderabad: The Telangana high court on Monday issued notices to the state and Hyderabad police commissioner to respond to a PIL questioning alleged use of Face Recognition Technology (FRT) by officials without any sanction of law.
A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Abhinand Kumar Shavili sought counters from authorities while hearing the PIL filed by SQ Masood, a Hyderabad-based social activist, who contended that the police in May 2015 stopped him in traffic and took his photos without consent though he did not face any criminal cases.
According to Masood’s counsel K Manoj Reddy, letters sent by the petitioner to the Hyderabad police commissioner to delete his personal and biometric information from the police data yielded no response.
“The continued use of Facial Recognition Technology by the police violates the privacy of individuals which was upheld by the Supreme Court’s Aadhaar judgment. The use of such technology without any authorisation from the law should be declared unconstitutional and illegal,” he said.
The petitioner in his plea said that the state has been deploying various agencies since 2018 for implementing FRT in the state. Citing media reports, he said that the installation of CCTVs at various places is meant for gathering such data.
“States in coordination with the Union home ministry are implementing crime and criminal tracking networking and systems (CCTNS) across the nation. The data they collect and the way they use, store or retain such information is not known to the public. It is used exclusively by the police and law-enforcing authorities,” Shavili said.
Describing this as unlawful, the petitioner said that his efforts to extract replies from Hyderabad police through the Right to Information (RTI) route has also yielded no results till now.
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