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DNA and Face Matching Systems in Police Stations


Over a year after Parliament passed the Criminal Procedure Identification Act (CrPI), 2022; the Centre is preparing to introduce ‘DNA and Face Matching’ systems in 1,300 police stations nationwide, despite the Act’s provisions not yet being fully implemented.


GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Context of ‘DNA and Face Matching Systems’ Under CrPI Act, 2022
  2. Technology Behind ‘DNA and Face Matching Systems’

Context of ‘DNA and Face Matching Systems’ Under CrPI Act, 2022

Passage of CrPI Act, 2022
  • In 2022, the Indian Parliament approved the Criminal Procedure Identification (CrPI) Act, granting police and central investigating agencies the authority to collect, store, and analyze a wide range of physical and biological samples, including retina and iris scans, from arrested individuals.
  • The intent was to bolster law enforcement capabilities and usher in a new era in criminal identification and data management.
Implementation Responsibility with NCRB
  • The responsibility for implementing the Act and developing Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the measurement collection process was entrusted to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), a central organization.
  • NCRB played a central role in guiding police officials on the proper protocol for recording these measurements.
Inclusion of DNA and Face Matching
  • Although the Act and rules did not explicitly mention DNA sample collection and face matching procedures, the NCRB discussed plans to incorporate these measures in conversations with State police officials.
  • Additionally, the Ministry of Home Affairs established a Domain Committee, consisting of State police and central law enforcement representatives, to record DNA data.
Criticism and Practical Challenges
  • Critics voiced concerns about the legislation being “unconstitutional” and viewed it as an intrusion on privacy.
  • Practical challenges emerged, including the need for training and resources in various states, with funding and operating costs being significant concerns.
  • The NCRB emphasized the necessity for technologically, legally, and forensically sound tools and systems, accompanied by robust safeguards to prevent the misuse of collected data.
  • This context highlights the complexity and importance of the Act and its associated rules in the realm of criminal identification and data management.

Technology Behind ‘DNA and Face Matching Systems’

Face Matching System:
  • The Face Matching System is a technology driven by algorithms that constructs a digital representation of an individual’s face. This is achieved by identifying and mapping various facial features. The resulting digital map is then compared to a database with which the system has access.
  • In the context of the Automated Facial Recognition System (AFRS), a substantial database containing photos and videos of people’s faces is utilized for the purpose of matching and identifying individuals.
  • When an image of an unidentified person, often obtained from CCTV footage, is introduced, the system uses Artificial Intelligence technology to analyze patterns and make comparisons with the existing database.
DNA Matching Systems:
  • DNA Matching Systems, also referred to as DNA profiling or DNA fingerprinting, are techniques employed for the comparison and identification of individuals based on their distinct genetic characteristics.
  • These systems focus on examining specific regions within an individual’s DNA that exhibit significant variability among different people. Through this analysis, a unique genetic profile is established for each individual.
  • DNA matching is frequently employed in the realm of criminal investigations to establish connections between suspects and crime scenes or victims.
  • For example, DNA evidence found at a crime scene, which might include substances like blood, hair, or bodily fluids, is compared with the DNA profiles of potential suspects to either confirm or rule out a connection.

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023