National Crime Records Bureau pushes back facial recognition bid deadline again

After pushing the deadline back five times, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in India is still accepting bids for a national facial recognition-based platform of facial images to January 31, 2020, citing “administrative reasons,” writes Medianama. The first deadline was August 16, 2019.

The initial request for proposals for the Automated Facial Recognition System (AFRS) described the project as “supply, installation and commissioning of hardware and software at NCRB,” yet the more detailed request for proposal states it “is an effort in the direction of modernizing the police force, information gathering, criminal identification, verification and its dissemination among various police organizations and units across the country.”

In November, following a legal notice asking for clarifications on legality and purpose, the Union Home Ministry approved the tool and said it would only be used to automate existing police tasks. Following a notice on privacy protection sent by the Internet Freedom Foundation, the institution said the tool would not be integrated with Aadhaar.
In September, the deadline was extended to allow Indian biometrics companies to properly prepare their submissions, after the institution was criticized for establishing requirements not many companies can meet. A top concern at a pre-bid meeting was how the tool would address cases of plastic surgery.

In July, the agency was heavily criticized for its bid criteria for standards, experience, and certification requirements which were preventing most Indian companies from qualifying for the project. These included an annual turnover of at least $15 million in each of the three last fiscal years, with positive net worth in each and a minimum of three successful AFRS installations