Facial recognition technology is rife in India’s state of Telangana, where the Government’s investment in technologies means the private sector and law enforcement monitor society to a worrying degree.

Not only does Telangana deploy an extensive CCTV network across the country, but the advancements of biometric systems and data are contributing to a hardline approach to policing or “spying” on normal citizens. The objectives of the police can be varied from cordon and search warrants, to biometrics profiling, and phone hacking.

Numerous facial biometric datasets have been compiled into a “smart governance program” called Samagram, which records detailed information profiling an individual’s employment status, residency, heritage. The goal is to catch criminals with the most streamlined approaching to policing however this seems to have been overstepped by some extreme measures, including to stop and search mask-wearers.

IT Secretary in Telangana said in 2019: “We have created a best algorithm through which this machine learning capabilities has become so robust that today we have reached a level of almost 96-97 percent accuracy. So if you tell me one person’s name I can give his entire digital footprint at about 96 percent accuracy to them… this tool throws up the results in a matter of seconds and the tool also is very useful in doing what is called family tree analysis or relationship analysis.”