Home / News / India /  Delhi violence: Govt using voter ID, driver’s license data to screen rioters

Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said that the government used voter ID, driver’s license and other databases to screen people involved in Delhi riots. The minister says 1,100 people have been identified using the technology. “We are using face recognition software to identify people behind the violence. We have also fed Voter ID and driving license data into this software, which has identified 1100 people. Out of these, 300 people came from UP to carry out violence," Shah said.

This goes against a recent response to a Right to Information (RTI) query to the Delhi Police by Mint. In responding to that query, the Delhi Police said facial recognition software is used in accordance with Identification of Criminals Act. The police also said that face data is acquired “as per request received from kith and kinnes of victims and Identification of Prisoners Act".

However, Shah’s admission makes it clear that the government is using public databases to screen crowds in Delhi. In an earlier story about facial recognition, Supreme Court lawyer N.S. Nappinai had told Mint that screening crowds using such databases is illegal in the country. According to her, it goes against the concept of innocent until proven guilty, which is what legal systems are based on.

The Delhi Police’s system was developed by Delhi-based INNEFU Labs. Founder Tarun Wig, had earlier told Mint that the software is designed in a way that any database can be plugged into it and Innefu has no control over the same. It seems the government is taking advantage of the same.

Shah also said that Delhi Police has formed 40 teams to track these 1,100 individuals. “The arrest will be made only in cases where is hard evidence against a person," Shah said.

Prasid Banerjee
An engineering dropout, Prasid Banerjee has reported on technology in India for various publications. He reports on technology through text and audio, focusing on its core aspects, like consumer impact, policy and the future.
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