Support The Moscow Times!

Facial Recognition Tech Leads to World Cup Arrest

Andrei Nikerichev / Moskva News Agency

Police in Moscow arrested their first fan using facial recognition software deployed for the World Cup. 

Moscow’s “Safe City” surveillance system includes 160,000 closed-circuit cameras. The city launched a pilot program of facial recognition technology around metro and train stations near Luzhniki Stadium ahead of the World Cup.

The technology was used to flag a theft suspect during the Russia-Spain game, a senior Moscow City Hall security official told state-run TASS news agency Tuesday.  

“The… system matched camera footage with a citizen on a federal wanted list for theft,” the head of regional security Vladimir Chernikov told TASS.

About 50,000 photographs of criminal suspects and blacklisted foreign fans were uploaded into the surveillance system installed at Moscow’s fan zone and the nearby Luzhniki Stadium, Chernikov said. 

Moscow’s facial recognition pilot program also led to the arrest of 42 suspects in the month leading up to the football championship, which began on June 14.

Reuters contributed reporting to this article.

Read more

We need your help now more than ever.

Independent media outlets and journalists in Russia are being increasingly targeted with “foreign agent” and “undesirable” labels, threatening the existence of the free press day by day.

Your donation to The Moscow Times directly supports the last independent English-language news source within Russia.