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Ram Temple ceremony in Ayodhya sees futuristic AI-based surveillance

The AI-based security system will focus on individuals with serious criminal records, including terrorism and murder

The Uttar Pradesh government is taking significant measures to ensure tight security during the ‘Pran Pratishtha’ ceremony at the Ram temple in Ayodhya on January 22. One of the measures is that, for the first time, advanced AI surveillance will be employed to identify suspicious activities and track potential miscreants in the city. This move is part of a comprehensive security plan, and the government is investing substantial funds to maintain law and order.

Staqu Technologies, a Gurgaon-based tech startup, is playing a pivotal role in implementing the AI-powered security system in Ayodhya. Atul Rai, the co-founder and CEO of Staqu Technologies, highlighted the integration of CCTV cameras already present across the city for purposes like traffic and community management. The AI surveillance will focus on individuals with serious criminal records, including those involved in terrorism and murder.

The AI surveillance system utilizes Staqu’s audio and video analytics software, Jarvis, which employs advanced features like facial recognition and reverse facial recognition. Atul Rai explained that reverse facial recognition enables law enforcement to search for a specific person across the city using a photograph. Additionally, the software can identify people or objects based on textual attributes, allowing for comprehensive monitoring.

One of the key features is the ability to search for individuals or objects based on specific attributes, such as clothing description. For instance, the AI software can search for a person wearing red trousers and a blue shirt, and identify such individuals passing through different cameras in the city. Furthermore, the system can identify suspicious vehicles by matching their attributes with the e-vahan Parivahan database in real-time, including mismatched registration numbers.

Staqu’s Trinetra software, which digitizes criminal records, grants access to a database of 8,00,000 individuals with criminal backgrounds. This integration enhances the capabilities of AI surveillance by providing real-time information to law enforcement agencies.

The AI surveillance project in Ayodhya commenced as a one-month pilot project in the first week of January. Atul Rai emphasized that the pilot’s success would determine the potential for a full-fledged implementation in the future. The project faced operational challenges, particularly in dealing with various construction sites in the city. However, with collaboration between Staqu Technologies, the police, and the government, these challenges were successfully addressed.

Despite the innovative approach to enhancing security, the use of AI for surveillance raises concerns regarding data protection and privacy. N. S. Nappinai, Advocate, Supreme Court & Founder- Cyber Saathi, highlighted the need for clear laws in India to protect privacy while using CCTV cameras in public spaces. She emphasized the importance of effective checks and balances to ensure that privacy is not violated in the pursuit of security.

Nappinai called for the establishment of guidelines or laws regulating the use of technology for governance purposes. Transparency in data collection and access by private entities is crucial to address concerns related to individual rights and data protection. Without adequate safeguards, the engagement of private entities in such projects could potentially infringe upon individual privacy.

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