Read how the UP government plans to map and integrate data from surveillance cameras while first mentioning the UP police’s use of Jio cameras, which raises more questions.
This is the third in a four-part series. You can read the first two stories here.
You read it here first: Imagine a large room, possibly with multiple screens, showing face recognition data and other CCTV camera feeds from around the city. At the push of a button, the “relationships” of the entities are mapped in a matter of seconds by searching through numerous databases.
Seems surreal doesn’t it? Welcome to the Lucknow Safe City project Integrated intelligent control room (ISCR), the proposed central monitoring center from which the police can monitor and analyze all feeds and incoming data, as well as access other databases. As if that weren’t alarming enough, the Safe City Project’s ISCR will also be integrated into existing surveillance projects in Lucknow such as the Smart City Project, the Drishti Project and. integrated Jio cameras – a separate CCTV system with Jio cameras according to a tender published by the government of Uttar Pradesh to select a system integrator for Safe City Protect.
Under the guise of rescuing women, the overarching monitoring architecture in the ISCR (according to the tender) –
- A command and control center (C4i) where live video feeds from the surveillance cameras are monitored and analyzed.
- Aside from broadcasting live feeds, the videos and images would be mapped and “compared to a database with details of suspicious vehicles / criminals involved in crimes against women”.
- The video feeds from the data center would then be forwarded to the Command & Control Center (C4i) for display, processing and video analysis.
- Based on the warnings issued by the AI-based video analysis, an incident management employee at ISCR validates them by reviewing the image and video associated with the warning.
It is important to note that the UP government’s plan to map captured data such as CCTV video to a “database of details” Suspects / vehicle criminals involved in women’s crime “indicates that the citizens of Lucknow largely do not know that they are being monitored and that their data is being scanned around the clock by an AI-based data framework without their consent.
MediaNama’s work in addressing the major political issues shaping the future of the Indian Internet is made possible through the support of its subscribers. If developments in technology policy are of vital importance to you or your organization, we strongly encourage you to subscribe to MediaNama to support our journalism.
Please subscribe here.
The integration of Safe City with Jio cameras raises questions
The fact that the Uttar Pradesh police are using Jio cameras was first mentioned in the tender for the Safe City Project.
Drishti Project incorporates the latest technologies and includes a state-of-the-art command and control center for 24/7 surveillance of CCTV cameras. The project consists of IP CCTVs, Command Control Center and Data Center with the aim of controlling crime in the city. As part of the “Drishti” project, 280 cameras will be installed at 70 locations in Lucknow. In addition, a total of 1,100 Jio cameras are installed in the city to reduce crime. Drishti and Jio cameras are around 1500 in total – From the “Integration with existing Drishti and Jio cameras” segment of the tender
It is unclear if Jio cameras fall under the Drishti project or if it is a separate setup.
But first what is the Drishti Project?
According to this report of the Times of India, the Drishti project was launched in 2017 and cameras were installed at 20 intersections in Lucknow. However, the project failed as most of the cameras soon failed. In 2021, the ToI report said the Drishti project was making a comeback, with police planning to install “5,000 AI-enabled cameras”. No further information was given about the structure of this project.
In the proposed integration scenario of Drishti and Jio cameras with Safe City ISCR, the tender states that the selected system integrator –
- make arrangements watch Jio and Drishti cameras at Safe City ISCR in real time
- Make arrangements to view ISCR surveillance cameras in the Drishti control room in real time
If there is a risk of repetition, the offer does not mention:
- Whether Jio cameras are part of the Drishti project;
- If it is a separate setup, see if the Safe City ISCR videos are available for viewing in the Jio camera control room
- It also raises the question of what kind of data exchange policy is in place between the Safe City Project and Jio cameras.
With this and a similar series of questions, we turned to the Interior Minister of the Government of Uttar Pradesh, who, according to the website of the Interior Ministry of the Union, is the node commissioner for the project in Lucknow. On August 16, we also contacted UP Police PRO and Neera Rawat, the additional police director general in the Women Power Line 1090 section of the UP Police, who is leading the project in the police department. We were later told by her office that she would not speak to us.
The question arises whether the data mentioned (in the ISCR) are intended for disposal and for strict confidentiality or whether these data should be used by a public or private institution for any benefit / purpose / use. Although the project seems detailed, the actual positive or negative impact has yet to be seen and assessed. Against this background, it will be interesting to see which data protection measures are being taken and to what extent they prove to be effective in practice – Kritika Seth, founding partner, Victoriam Legalis – Advocates & Solicitors
When asked if this particular integration could be of concern, Prashant Sugathan, legal director of the Software Freedom Law Center, said: “Any unauthorized data exchange with third parties without the express consent of the data controller is particularly problematic with regard to facial monitoring. Surveillance cameras cannot necessarily approach crimes against women beyond investigative purposes. “
Smart City surveillance videos can be viewed in Safe City and vice versa
The tender states that the system integrator must provide a network connection between Safe City ISCR and Smart City in order to view the latter’s surveillance network in real time. “The system integrator provides fiber optic connectivity between the two data centers in order to access the video feed,” says the tender.
Similarly, the tender said that the system integrator must enable Safe City cameras to be displayed in real time with Smart City control. These are the other suggested integrations –
Integration with UP112: This integration examines what happens after facial recognition data is processed, analyzed by the data framework, and verified by the incident management operator at ISCR. The tender states that the ISCR will then forward the data to a computerized dispatcher at UP112, who will then forward the information to the local police. “The ISCR operator can see the locations and send shipping notifications and other related warnings to the vehicles that are connected to the ISCR and controlled,” added the tender.
Integration with mobile surveillance vehicle: Cameras in mobile surveillance vehicles that are part of the Drishti project will also be integrated into the Safe City ISCR. As part of the proposed integration, the operator at ISCR can view the cameras mounted on the vehicle. If an emergency button is pressed in the vehicle, the operator at ISCR can see it, according to the tender. The ISCR operator can then forward the warning to the UP112 response team.
Integration with 100 pink outposts: Pink-colored outposts have been installed to protect women in around 100 locations such as near schools, universities, markets, etc., according to the tender. This integration means that the Pink Outpost staff is in direct communication with the Safe City ISCR.
Integration with WPL1090: This segment of the UP Police, which according to the tender was set up to deal with the safety of women, will be integrated into the ISCR. These are related requirements of the UP government of the system integrator –
- Safe City cameras are said to be compatible with WPL1090. to get integrated
- Incidents reported to ISCR are forwarded to WPL109 through web API based integration
- ISCR’s geotagged cameras will be available on demand for viewing under WPL1090.
Now surveillance cameras in Lucknow’s 165 pink buses
This is not an integration of an existing surveillance system, but the installation of a new CCTV surveillance structure, this time in Pink Buses, as part of the Safe City project. These are the main suggested features –
- Installation of IP-based cameras in 165 buses under Lucknow City
- 3 cameras in each bus
- 2 panic buttons in each bus
- Surveillance video can be accessed directly in real time from Safe City ISCR when a panic button is pressed on the bus
- Every 30 minutes, a snapshot taken by the CCTV with a watermark is sent to the Safe City ISCR. forwarded
- The ISCR has remote access to the record of all incidents on the buses in the past
- Bus for GPS
- The video recording takes place around the clock, even when buses are parked in depots or workshops.
What we asked the UP government
The Safe City Project needs to be integrated into existing surveillance projects such as Smart City, Drishti. Today the Drishti project uses around 1,100 Jio cameras.
- What is the current data exchange practice of the Drishti project with Jio?
- What will the data sharing policy between the Safe City Project and the Drishti Project look like after the integration?
Do you have anything to add? Subscribe to MediaNama here and post your comment.