Home Legal Advice Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) launches Project Panoptic

Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) launches Project Panoptic


Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) has launched Project Panoptic, a portal to trace the deployment of facial recognition know-how in India. IFF is an Indian non-governmental group that conducts advocacy on digital rights and liberties, primarily based in New Delhi. They file petitions and undertakes advocacy campaigns to defend on-line freedom, privateness, web neutrality, and innovation.

What is Project Panoptic?

Project Panoptic goals to carry transparency and accountability to the applicable authorities stakeholders intertwined within the deployment and implementation of facial recognition know-how (FRT) tasks in India.

They have created a digital public useful resource with an on-line dashboard that shows data gathered and picked up on FRT deployments throughout India (each on the Central and state stage).  In the run-up to the launch of the database, IFF had additionally been writing extensively about how FRT tasks have been deployed by numerous governments, in a whole violation of the Puttaswamy judgment which laid down the rules for intruding on an individual’s privateness.

Home Page. Project Panoptic

Where Does Facial Recognition Stand in India?

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As IFF puts it:

“FRT projects are becoming dangerously popular in India with various national level projects (AFRS, DigiYatra and IP VSS) underway. However, all these projects have been implemented without any legislative framework governing their operation. Be that as it may, the most worrisome part is not just the implementation of a faulty FRT system but also the implementation of an accurate system which could become a tool of mass surveillance.”

There has been a call from around the globe to ban this know-how, as it’s too deadly (and inaccurate) a weapon. Because of the issues over the harms of the know-how, Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM, have lately paused/abandoned their facial recognition tasks. San Franciso had banned the usage of facial recognition in 2019, and jurisdictions such because the EU have started considering a ban. Yet, their deployment in India stays unfazed.

IFF has been sending authorized notices and submitting RTIs as a part of their battle in opposition to FRT. While nearly all of the protection appears to be casting a suspicious eye at India’s FRT use, one report points out that the FRT system in India is the largest to be deployed on this planet.

From Where Do We Get the Name Panoptic?

Panoptic derives its identify from Panopticon, a constructing theorized by Jeremy Bentham. As Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy places it:

“The panopticon is a constructing of round design meant for any institutional association what place the ‘inmates’ required fixed supervision.


Bentham developed the thought of the panopticon penitentiary instead penal system, wherein convicted criminals can be topic to a disciplinary regime primarily based on the maxim that ‘the extra strictly we’re watched, the higher we behave’”.

Plan of Panopticon Prison. Image Credits: Wikipedia


Michel Foucault additional contributed to the research by speaking about how such a system of supervision adjustments an individual’s conduct when put under a relentless state of surveillance.

“He who is subjected to a field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes responsibility for the constraints of power; he makes them play spontaneously upon himself; he inscribes in himself the power relation in which he simultaneously plays both roles; he becomes the principle of his own subjection.”

You may learn the publish by IFF on how they got here up with the identify.

You can examine their Project Panoptic web site here. It is essential that we additionally begin having conversations concerning the FRT applied sciences being utilized in India and the harms they pose.

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