Facial Recognition systems around the world have been labelled as the most dangerous tool for human rights abuse but in some countries these systems are openly used by the police and other services in daily life of humans living under the eyes of legal authorities.
A digital rights activist in Moscow, the capital city of Russia was able to purchase and access the extensive facial recognition system of the city for just 16,000 rubles (~$200) as reported by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Anna Kuznetsova reports that after seeing some ads on the messaging service Telegram, she transferred the money along with a picture of herself to the seller. Two days later, she received an extensive report of her movements over the previous month, apparently pulled directly from the Moscow police system.
Moscow’s facial recognition started in January this year spans more than 100,000 cameras around the city that are meant to be restricted to law enforcement. The report does not reveal how the seller was able to access the system, but it notes that two officers were placed under investigation after the incident and Kuznetsova has filed a lawsuit aimed at putting a stop on the program until clearer procedures are placed.
Kuznetsova reports that the system poses a clear danger to the public as long as the system remains available. “Any crazy guy can stalk you using this; criminals can check when and where you go and steal from your apartment or hurt you,” she told Reuters. “Anything can happen.”
Facial Recognition system has been banned by a number of US cities including San Francisco, Boston, Portland, and Maine.