Moscow court says the city can keep its new, massive facial recognition camera program

March 4th
(Yegor Aleyev/TASS)

A Moscow court has ruled in favor of keeping the city's 105,000 facial recognition security cameras operational after the program was challenged by privacy activists.

Lawyer Alena Popova and Vladimir Milov, a member of Russia's Solidarnost party, filed a case to ban the technology at protests and mass events in January.

Moscow's facial recognition program was completed in December, 2019 and cost over $50 million. It was largely built by NtechLab, the company behind FindFace, an infamous 2016 app that allowed users to find strangers' VK profiles using just their photo. VK is Russia's equivalent to Facebook.

NtechLab closed FindFace in 2018 to focus on government contracts. CEO Alexander Minin told The Verge that Moscow police will be able to use FindFace technology in tandem with security cameras to track wanted people.

"We believe that the Moscow face recognition system is the largest in the world," he wrote.