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Russian court says facial recognition tech does not violate privacy

A court in Moscow says the city's 105,000-strong camera network can stay.
Peter Cade via Getty Images
Peter Cade via Getty Images
Rachel England
Rachel England|@rachel_england|March 4, 2020 4:50 AM

While some countries are taking a stand against the use of facial recognition on the grounds of privacy invasion, Russia is taking the opposite view. A court in Moscow has ruled that the city's use of facial recognition does not violate the privacy of citizens.

Activists had hoped the courts would ban the use of the technology, which was rolled out in the city throughout 2019 -- the system cost at least 3.3 billion roubles ($50 million) and comprises more than 105,000 cameras.

The system -- which remained operational throughout the legal proceedings -- is now being used to ensure people are observing coronavirus quarantine, as well as to identify individuals at mass events and protests.

The case against Moscow's Department of Technology (DIT) was filed by lawyer and activist Alena Popova, who had a previous lawsuit dismissed on the same grounds. As Reuters reports, the outcome of this case has disappointed those concerned with the country's civil rights. "This ruling shows there are no legal defenses for facial recognition complaints," said Popova's lawyer, Kirill Koroteev.

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Russian court says facial recognition tech does not violate privacy