AI cameras violate privacy laws, say legal experts

A camera installed by the Motor Vehicles Department in Kasaragod-Kanhangad National Highway. Photo: Manorama

Kochi: The Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based surveillance cameras installed by the Kerala Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) across the state to detect traffic rule violations are an invasion of privacy of citizens, said legal experts.

According to them, recording visuals of motorists violating laws and presenting the images as evidence before the court will not invite legal issues. However, collecting visuals of people travelling following all rules involves intrusion into their rights of privacy, said the experts.

“The interiors of a private vehicle are private spaces. Images of a private space can be recorded only with the knowledge and consent of the persons concerned. Under Indian laws, recording even scenes of intimacy by a couple inside a private car is a crime,” explained an advocate.

Indiscriminate recording is not smart

Meanwhile, an IT expert said that the cameras currently installed in Kerala cannot be strictly termed as true AI cameras as they are recording all images. “An authentic AI camera is one which can differentiate between violations of law and legal driving and would record images of only incidents where the rules are broken. The current cameras don’t seem to have the algorithm to identify violations of the law,” the IT expert said.

The IPC provisions

According to the Section 119(b) of the Kerala Police Act, clicking visuals of women without their knowledge and invading their privacy is a crime which could invite a sentence of three months and a fine of Rs 10,000.

Similarly, Section 354(c) of the Indian Penal Code says that observing people engaged in legal activities in their private spaces without their awareness and recording the images could lead to an imprisonment of up to three years.

Violation of privacy by recording visuals is also punishable under Section 67 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and could invite jail of up to three years and fine up to Rs 2 lakh according to the gravity of the crime.

In the event of anybody moving the court pointing out that the cameras violate any of these laws, the MVD would be forced to replace the cameras, said the legal experts.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.