Workshop on ‘Role of Technology in Reuniting Missing Children & Trafficked Persons’

New Delhi, August 5, 2019 : A one-day Workshop on ‘Role of Technology in Reuniting Missing Children & Trafficked Persons’ was jointly organised by National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs, in collaboration with Indian Police Foundation on 5th August, 2019. Shri K. V. Eapen, Secretary, Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, inaugurated the workshop. He highlighted the increased use of biometrics by police around the world and emphasized the need to use of advance technologies to aid investigation by police.  The keynote address was delivered by Prof. Nishchal Verma, IIT Kanpur, an eminent resource person in the area of Biometrics, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning.

The workshop deliberated on the use of biometrics by law enforcement agencies for the identification of persons.  Use of biometrics is not a new practice in law enforcement; however, it was not as technologically advanced as present day applications.  Rise of computing and electronics have greatly assisted biometric applications to become faster, more secure and accurate.  Use of biometrics has become a necessity in today’s complex world.

Shri Vivek Gogia Joint Director, NCRB, spelt out the vision and future projects of the Bureau and welcomed the Chief Guest and participants. In his welcome speech, he highlighted the need for accurate identification and evidences that provide irrefutable evidence of criminal activities.  The efficiency of law enforcement agencies has become much more enhanced with the inception of biometrics. It was emphasized that with the use of biometrics, law enforcement agencies can also locate large number of persons, especially children who are reported missing.  Similarly, unidentified found persons and unidentified dead bodies can also be matched using biometrics with the existing records of missing persons and unidentified found persons.  In a large population, it is the only mechanism to provide an accurate match and help people in reuniting with their families.

First brainstorming session about Emerging Technologies in identification, was chaired by Prof. Vinay P. Namboodiri, IIT Kanpur. Shri Amit Sharma, Advisor (Cyber), Ministry of Defence;  Prof. Prabaharan, Amrita University, Kerala and Prof. Bappaditya from Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurugram, were present as panellists.  They highlighted use of facial recognition technology for various applications, stressing upon importance of identifying tools which would greatly facilitate the investigation of crime and detection of criminals and provide information for easier and faster analysis for reuniting missing children and trafficked persons.  In the afternoon session, experiences in the applications of identification technology were discussed under the chairmanship of Shri Ramachandran, President and CEO, Indian Police Foundation (IPF). Shri Ravi Gupta, ADGP (TS), Telangana,; Prof. Ponnurangam Kumaraguru, IIIT Delhi and Shri Pavan Duggal, Sr. lawyer of Supreme Court of India, were present as panellists.

Delivering concluding remarks, Shri Sanjay Mathur, Joint Director (CCTNS), NCRB clarified the doubts related to security breach, reliability and privacy of individuals while implementing AFRS (Automated Facial Recognition System).   He informed that AFRS of NCRB will not work on public databases.  Its scope is to use CCTNS database which is secured and not available in public domain.  AFRS will be a tool to aid investigating officer as part of CCTNS application.  At present the Investigation Officer manually compares the photographs maintained in Police Station in the form of albums & dossier of offenders involved in previous cases with that of suspects/accused in the case under investigations.  AFRS automates this matching process and provides a bigger set for comparison, as it will be run on state/national level CCTNS/ICJS database.  AFRS results will be further corroborated and analysed by collecting other evidences by Investigation Officer before drawing any conclusions.  AFRS will not source facial images from CCTV cameras in public places, unless the video footage is part of scene of crime.