With the aim of making elections more secure by verifying the authenticity of voters, the Telangana State Election Commission (TSEC) has now decided to use a facial recognition app, on a pilot basis, in some polling stations in the upcoming elections.
According to a statement by TSEC, the incorporation of facial recognition technology will help the election conducting body to tackle the problem of impersonation during polling.
Further, to ensure that the privacy of users is maintained, the TSEC said that it will be deleting all the information collected using the face-recognition technology post-polling.
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While the TSEC will be conducting polls in 120 municipalities spread across nine municipal corporations, the government body has said that the facial-recognition technology will be used in only 10 polling stations in the Kompally municipality of Medchal Malkajgiri district. The official dates for polling in the state and declaration of results are January 22 and January 25 respectively.
How Will Face Recognition Work?
TSEC said that the process of identification and authentication of the voter is done by leveraging new-age technologies such as artificial intelligence, deep learning, among others.
For confirming the identity of voters, TSEC has appointed additional polling officers who will have possession of mobile phones installed with the face recognition application. The officer will first verify the voter using the physical identity proof and then take a photograph, which will be uploaded to the server using the face recognition app. The app, which works in real-time, then will match the photograph of the voter with other registered voters to prevent any impersonation at the polling station. “In case of a duplicate user match, the app notifies the polling officer,” TSEC added.
On how it is going to ensure the privacy of voters, the TSEC said that instead of saving images on the mobile phone, the application will save them on the server of Telangana State Technology Services (TSTS). “On the TSTS’ server, the photograph is going to be secured in an encrypted manner so that no one else can you this crucial information,” TSEC added.
Incorporating Technology To Improve Fairness In Elections
To improve the fairness of elections, the Election Commission of India (ECI) and many State Election Commissions have incorporated various technologies in past. Maharashtra’s Cyber Cell had partnered with the UK-based fact-checking platform Logically, in October 2019, to detect, track and report any activity that might violate the Election Commission’s Model Code Of Conduct (MCC).
Further, to eradicate any notion of tampering, the ECI had instructed vehicles transporting Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) and Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) to be mandatorily equipped with IoT devices that have a GPS chip for location tracking.