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AI surveillance for masks in Telangana sparks debate

The Telangana police’s new artificial intelligence-based surveillance system, which detects people who do not wear masks, has drawn flak. 

Published: 10th May 2020 07:47 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th May 2020 07:47 AM   |  A+A-

mask seller, Chennai coronavirus

A man selling homemade masks. (File Photo | Debadatta Mallick, EPS)

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: The Telangana police’s new artificial intelligence-based surveillance system, which detects people who do not wear masks, has drawn flak. The AI-based face mask violation enforcement uses computer vision and deep-learning technique on CCTV cameras.Privacy activists called for the move to be rolled back or more transparency be brought into the process. 

SQ Masood, a city-based social activist said, “Right to privacy is a fundamental right. What are the laws on the basis of which this surveillance is being undertaken? In times of crisis various companies come forward with such solutions. When the crisis period gets over, they ask for money. While these companies get richer, citizens suffer”. He asked the police to clarify on which servers the data was being stored and what are the security protocols for its safety. 

Security researcher Srinivas Kodali tweeted, “The Hyderabad police was doing general purpose #facialrecognition of stopping people arbitrarily on the streets and asking them for their fingerprints or photos. We ignored its implementation without a law. Now we are stuck with it forever”. Not every one is sceptical about the development. Sai Krishna, chairman of Global Cybersecurity Forum, said the police was well within its rights to do it. “They are looking into public areas and not private affairs. Controversial technologies such as facial recognition is not being used here”. 



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