Lucknow Will Use Facial Expression‑Recognition Cameras to Spot Women in Danger, Report to Police


Jan 21, 2021


Image Credit: Getty Images

The Lucknow police have announced plans to install in public places AI-enabled cameras that can identify distressed facial expressions and alert the nearest police station to endangered women, the Times of India reports. The initiative was introduced as an effort to further women’s safety.

The Lucknow police has identified 200 hotspots across the city, where “the movement of girls is maximum and from where most of the complaints are received,” said D.K. Thakur, Lucknow’s police commissioner.

“These cameras will become active as soon as the expressions of a woman in distress change. Before she takes out the phone and dials, an alert will be reach the police [sic],” Thakur said while discussing Lucknow’s “safe city” initiative at a workshop.

Last year, Lucknow topped the list of Indian cities with the most crimes against women; women reported more than seven such crimes every day in 2018.

Related on The Swaddle:

Madhya Pradesh CM Suggests Tracking Working Women To Ensure Their Safety

The Lucknow cameras are the latest in a string of similar moves that confuse women’s safety with surveillance. State governments across India have recently moved to equip public transports with marshals, outfit public places with CCTV cameras, and require working women to register their movements in order to curb crimes against women.

Such efforts have been criticised for surveilling women instead of sensitizing men and for detecting crimes against women rather than preventing them.

“… in the name of protecting women from domestic violence, the state cannot deploy cops in their bedrooms,” pointed out N.C. Asthana, a retired IPS officer, in a recent op-ed for The Wire.

Nor can the state deploy cameras there.


Written By Devrupa Rakshit

Devrupa Rakshit is an Associate Editor at The Swaddle. She is a lawyer by education, a poet by accident, a painter by shaukh, and autistic by birth. You can find her on Instagram @devruparakshit.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields *.

The latest in health, gender & culture in India -- and why it matters. Delivered to your inbox weekly.