CITAPP Seminar Series talk by Shivangi Narayan on Facial Recognition and police bias in India

Date: 23-03-2022

About the March 23rd talk: Delhi Police used Facial Recognition Technology (FRT) to arrest thousands of men, aged 18-40 years, for inciting riots during the Delhi riots 2020. Many of these men still languish in jail, two years later on the basis of identification by FRT which is assumed to be objective, neutral and free of any ‘bias’ humans could harbour when it comes to the criminal justice system. It is used without any accountability or oversight from the state; The use of FRT in Delhi Police is based on a Delhi High Court interim order which authorised its use by the police to only find missing children. Data Protection Laws in India, still under consultation, provide complete access to law enforcement agencies to all kinds of data, in the name of national security and safety. While there are several instances where we have seen instances of further marginalisation when the AI/ML technologies does not work, such as in the cases of misidentification of African Americans by systems trained only on white faces, in this seminar, Shivangi would like to discuss the specificities of how technology intersects with power and how even when it works, it pushes the marginalised further to the fringes.

Shivangi has suggested several useful background papers on FRT and FRT in India some of which are attached and others linked to the schedule listed at the end.

Speaker Bio: Shivangi Narayan is currently working on a three-year project studying digital policing in India, funded by the Oslo Metropolitan University and Norwegian Research Council. She is interested in facial recognition technologies and the overarching infrastructure of police surveillance that informs current ideas of governance. Her other areas of interest are social media, caste hate speech, the ever-expanding reach of AI, and platform governance. Shivangi got her PhD from the Centre for Study of Social Systems, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, where she wrote her dissertation on ‘Policing and the Construction of the Criminal: A Study of Bureaucracy and Algorithms in Delhi Police.’ Prior to that, she had a two-year stint in technology policy journalism at Governance Now magazine, and earned a masters degree in Sociology from CSSS and a PG Diploma in Journalism from Xavier Institute of Communications, Mumbai. She has also worked as a systems analyst for HCL Comnet and holds a bachelor’s degree in electronics and communications engineering from Uttar Pradesh Technical University.

Shivangi Narayan’s talk will be followed by a discussion and Q&A session.

CITAPP’s Monthly Seminar Series is an attempt to create a forum where researchers across IIITB domains can meet and discuss cutting edge research on the chosen theme of the semester. The Series  hopes to explore a technology or topic for its ramifications in different realms of social activity. In particular, we are interested in understanding the specific kinds of complexity that these domains present for technological innovation and design. 

CITAPP at IIIT Bangalore is an interdisciplinary think-tank set-up to focus on the policy challenges and the organizational demands made by technological innovation. Of particular interest to the Centre is how technological advances, along with institutional changes that harness the legitimacy and the powers of bureaucracies and market, address the needs of underserved communities.