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Facial Recognition Used to Verify Vaccine Recipients but Privacy Concerns Not Checked: Govt

Representational photo.

Representational photo.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has failed to provide any legal order that authorized the use of such technology.

In a recent RTI query, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has admitted to the use of facial recognition technology (FRT) for online verification of beneficiaries at vaccination centres. However, it has failed to provide any legal order that authorized the use of such technology.

According to a report in The Hindu, the MoHFW has said that no privacy impact assessment of the use of facial recognition technology was conducted prior to its deployment. “Facial recognition authentication is used as one of the methods for Aadhaar Authentication for online verification of beneficiary prior to Covid-19 vaccination wherein facial template is captured and send to UIDAI for verification of image of beneficiary,” the Ministry said in response to an RTI filed by the not-for-profit Internet Freedom Foundation, according to the newspaper.

Meanwhile, the total number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the country so far has exceeded 35.71 crore, the Union Health Ministry said on Monday. According to a provisional report published at 7 pm, more than 41.34 lakh vaccine doses have been administered on Monday. In the age group of 18-44 years, 18,30,741 people got first dose of the vaccine and 1,40,368 received the second dose on Monday.

Cumulatively, 10,25,96,048 people in the age group of 18-44 years have received their first dose and 29,19,735 their second jab since the start of the third phase of the vaccination drive. Eight states — Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra — have administered more than 50 lakh first dose of Covid-19 vaccine in the age group 18-44 years.

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Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Jharkhand, Kerala, Telangana, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Uttarakhand and West Bengal have vaccinated more than 10 lakh people in the 18-44 years age group for the first dose, the ministry said.

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