Automated facial recognition: what NCRB proposes, what are the concerns

In News:

  • Recently, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) is looking to build an Automated Facial Recognition System (AFRS) to be used by police officers across the country, to identify criminals, missing people, and unidentified dead bodies, as well as for “crime prevention”.


What is automated facial recognition?

  • AFRS works by maintaining a large database with photos and videos of peoples’ faces.
  • A new image of an unidentified person (taken from CCTV footage etc) is compared to the existing database to find a match and identify the person.

Automated Facial Recognition Systems in India

  • The Ministry of Civil Aviation’s “DigiYatra” using facial recognition for airport entry was recently trialed at the Hyderabad airport.
  • State governments have also taken their own steps towards facial recognition. Example: Telangana police launched their own system in August 2018.


About the Automated Facial Recognition System (AFRS):

  • The NCRB has suggested the use of automated facial recognition to identify criminals, missing people, and unidentified dead bodies, as well as for “crime prevention”.
  • The project is aimed at being compatible with other biometrics such as iris and fingerprints.
  • It will be a mobile and web application to be used by all police stations in the country.

Integration with existing systems:

  • NCRB has proposed integrating this facial recognition system with multiple existing databases, like NCRB-managed Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS).
  • The new facial recognition system will also be integrated with Integrated Criminal Justice System (ICJS), as well as state-specific systems, the Immigration, Visa and Foreigners Registration & Tracking (IVFRT), and the Khoya Paya portal on missing children.


  • Automated Facial Recognition System can play a very vital role in improving outcomes in the area of Criminal identification and verification by facilitating easy recording, analysis, retrieval and sharing of Information between different organisations
  • The integration of fingerprint database, face recognition software and iris scans will massively boost the police department’s crime investigation capabilities.
  • It will also help civilian verification when needed.
  • It also plans to offer citizen services, such as passport verification, crime reporting, online tracking of case progress, grievance reporting against police officers etc.

Note: NCRB is currently rolling out the National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS) and its integration with Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS).


About Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS)

  • Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) Project was conceived by Ministry of Home Affairs in 2009, for inter-linking all police stations under a common application software for the purpose of investigation, data analytics and providing Citizen Services
  • It is a project under Indian government for creating a comprehensive and integrated system for effective policing through e-Governance.
  • The system includes nationwide online tracking system by integrating more than 14,000 police stations across the country.
  • The project is implemented by National Crime Records Bureau.


  • Make the Police functioning citizen friendly and more transparent by automating the functioning of Police Stations.
  • Improve delivery of citizen-centric services through effective usage of ICT.
  • Provide the Investigating Officers of the Civil Police with tools, technology and information to facilitate investigation of crime and detection of criminals.
  • Improve Police functioning in various other areas such as Law and Order, Traffic Management etc.
  • Facilitate Interaction and sharing of Information among Police Stations, Districts, State/UT headquarters and other Police Agencies.
  • Assist senior Police Officers in better management of Police Force
  • Keep track of the progress of Cases, including in Courts
  • Reduce manual and redundant Records keeping


About Integrated Criminal Justice System (ICJS)

  • It is a web platform that integrates police, prison, and court records for government and police use.
  • Implementation of ICJS ensures:
    • Quick data transfer among different pillars of criminal justice system, which will not only enhance transparency but also reduce processing time.
    • Enable National level crime analytics to be published at increased frequency, which will help the policy makers as well as lawmakers in taking appropriate and timely action.
    • Enable pan-India criminal/accused name search in the regional language for improved inter-state tracking of criminal movement.


About National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS)

  • The project is based on the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) of the FBI in the US.
  • It hopes to create a repository of fingerprints of at least 1.5 crore criminals.
  • It will enhance the ability to discern crime patterns and modus operandi across states, and communicate with state police departments to assist in crime prevention.
  • The NCRB will allocate separate space for each state at the NAFIS centre. Each state will have complete control over their data and read-only permission is given to other states.


About National Crime Reports Bureau (NCRB)

  • National Crime Records Bureau, an attached office of Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India was established in 1986 with a mandate to empower Indian Police with information technology solutions and criminal intelligence to enable them to enforce the law effectively.
  • It function as a repository of information on crime and criminals so as to assist the investigators in linking crime to the perpetrators.
  • It was based on the recommendations of the Tandon Committee to the National Police Commission (1977-1981) and the MHA’s Task force (1985).
  • Subsequently, NCRB was entrusted with the responsibility for monitoring, coordinating and implementing the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS) project in the year 2009.
  • The project connects 15000+ police stations and 6000 higher offices of police in the country.

Image result for cctn INDIA

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