BIOMETRICSFacial Recognition Technology and Counter-Terror Operations

By Akshat Upadhyay

Published 4 October 2022

The use of facial recognition technology in counterterrorism must address several formidable challenges before being adopted. This means we should proceed careful, even cautiously, before operationalizing the technology.

The ‘Artificial Intelligence in Defense (AIDef)’ symposium and exhibition, the first of its kind held on 11 July 2022, showcased 75 products based on Artificial Intelligence (AI), in keeping with the theme of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ celebrating 75 years of India’s independence.& Symposium to be held in New Delhi on July 11”, Press Information Bureau, Ministry of Defence, Government of India, 8 July 2022.">1 The Armed Forces, as well as research organizations, industry, defense start-ups and innovators took part in the exhibition. The exhibition was a culmination of a four-year old process of initially introducing and subsequently leveraging AI and AI-based products in defense. The aim is to speed up decision-making processes, enhance cybersecurity, strengthen perimeter security, enable predictive maintenance and use  natural language processing (NLP) algorithms for on-the-spot translation for troops, especially when facing adversaries along disputed borders.2

Ministry of Defense Initiatives on AI
An AI Task Force was set up under the Ministry of Defense (MoD) in February 2018, which came out with recommendations in less than six months in June 2018.3 The report identified five areas for developing AI-based solutions for the Indian Armed Forces. These included lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS), unmanned surveillance, simulated wargames and training, cyber and aerospace security and intelligence and reconnaissance.4

These recommendations were in addition to the proposals suggested by the Task Force on AI for India’s Economic Transformation of 19 January 2018, headed by Professor V. Kamakoti, which identified 10 domains where AI could be used.5 Pertaining to the sphere of national security, the four areas highlighted were related to autonomous surveillance and combat systems, adaptive communication systems, cyber-attack mitigation and counter-attack systems and multi-sensor data fusion based systems.