[This two-part post has been authored by Riddhi Bang and Prerna Sengupta, second year students at NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad. Part II can be found here]
With the wave of machine learning and technological development, a new system that has arrived is the Facial Recognition Technology (FRT). From invention to accessibility, this technology has grown in the past few years. Facial recognition comes under the aegis of biometric data which includes distinctive physical characteristics or personal traits of a person that can be used to verify the individual. FRT primarily works through pattern recognition technology which detects and extracts patterns from data and matches it with patterns stored in a database by creating a biometric ‘template’. This technology is being increasingly deployed, especially by law enforcement agencies and thus raises major privacy concerns. This technology also attracts controversy due to potential data leaks and various inaccuracies. In fact, in 2020, a UK Court of Appeal ruled that facial recognition technology employed by law enforcement agencies, such as the police, was a violation of human rights because there was “too broad a discretion” given to police officers in implementing the technology. It is argued that despite the multifarious purposes that this technology purports to serve, its use must be regulated.