Moscow court dismisses lawsuit to ban facial biometrics surveillance in the city

Moscow court dismisses lawsuit to ban facial biometrics surveillance in the city

A court in Moscow ruled this week that the wide use of biometric facial recognition technology in video surveillance in Moscow is not an infringement of citizen privacy, following a case filed by activists to ban the technology from mass events and protests, writes Reuters.

The lawsuit to ban facial biometrics surveillance technology in the city was filed by lawyer and activist Alena Popova and opposition politician Vladimir Milov of the Solidarnost party. Popova filed a similar lawsuit in November which was dismissed.

Popova’s lawyer said the ruling shows that there is no legal defense against facial recognition in the country.

On January 1, 2020, Moscow officially launched the live video surveillance system including biometric facial recognition provided by NtechLab. The city spent some 3.3 billion rubles (US$50 million) on hardware. At the time, the public surveillance network was expected to grow to 200,000 cameras from shy over 100,000 by the end of 2019.

The system has been used to prevent individuals that might be at risk of coronavirus infection from going outside of their homes or hotels.

Moscow’s Department of Technology (DIT) claims the video surveillance system is used to “ensure safety” and that recordings are deleted in up to five days, provided they were not requested for review by the public or law enforcement.

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