Privacy & Surveillance 2021

Plan C is an endeavor of the contributors at My Lawrd to track recent developments in the Indian techno legal space. During many of our research projects, we felt an urge to consolidate recent developments for convenience, reliability, and efficiency. Although the so aggregated information was initially thought to be used within our organization, our kind contributors, who also happen to be passionate about the technology law community, decided to share this information with you folks! So here’s what’s happening in Privacy and Surveillance in 2021. Happy reading & researching!

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Date: 04.01.2021

Private Companies and PSU’s may get government’s crime database for a fee”

Content: As a background check of any criminal antecedents of any prospective employee private company and PSU’s may get the access to the Crime and Criminals Tracking Network Systems (CCTNS) which is a central repository of criminal records. This process may entail a fee. This step raised some privacy concerns of the individuals and can also increase the possibility of “Discrimination” in the hiring process. According to a former IPS officer who had also been associated with CCTNS initiative said that giving access of “Public Documents” like FIRs to Companies and Government Departments would not call for legal complication. These steps are prone to get misused quite often.  



Date: 11.01.2021 

Intel Launches Facial Recognition Solution amid debate around the Tech Biases”

Chipmaker Intel recently launched a facial recognition solution to work with smart locks, access control, among others, called RealSense ID which is built on Company’s Depth sensing technology. Intel listed out all the possible use of Facial Recognition systems but did not specify if this technology would be given to Law enforcement authorities. It also clarified that “Company is working to ensure ethical application of RealSense and protection of Human Rights”. In the past for instance, Amazon’s facial recognition system misidentified 28 members of Congress as criminals. Research has also shown that facial recognition tools are worse at detecting and identify faces of darker skinned people creating room for blatant discrimination. India is also deploying such tools. CBSE recently rolled out facial recognition system without the privacy policy. Local police departments are also purchasing facial recognition algorithms.



Date: 15.01.2021

“Indian government has made the second highest information requests according to Twitter’s new transparency report”

India sent up to 21% of all requests and 25% of specific global account requests. India also made 18% of the preservation requests; preservation requests are those that are made in response to governments or other law enforcement agencies where Twitter temporarily preserves information of an account involved in an investigation.   India is one of the five countries (others being Japan, Russia, South Korea and Turkey) from where 96% of the legal demands come from. India also had the highest number of requests related to media and journalists having made 149 requests. Two tweets were withheld in India under Section 69A of the IT Act.  


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