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Russia to Expand Surveillance to Tattoo, Iris, Voice Recognition – RBC

Facial recognition software is operational in 105,000 cameras installed at entrances to buildings in Moscow. Yaroslav Chingayev / TASS

Russia’s police force is developing technology that would allow them to identify criminal suspects by tattoo, iris and voice, the RBC news website reported Monday.

Moscow rolled out its facial recognition system, one of the world’s largest, on Jan. 1. Opponents have filed lawsuits against the Russian capital’s use of facial recognition over privacy concerns, while activists have campaigned against it by applying face paint in public.

The Interior Ministry’s biometric database that will include tattoo, iris and voice recognition is expected to go online by the end of 2021, RBC reported, citing an adviser to the minister. 

The police force is testing additional recognition systems, including the ability to identify people by gait, an unnamed source close to the Interior Ministry told RBC.

The Interior Ministry has requested “several billion rubles” (1 billion rubles = $16 million) for the system’s initial development, RBC cited an unnamed source familiar with the ministry’s plans as saying.

The technology will reportedly receive funding from the Moscow city government’s “Safe City” project.

Moscow has spent or allocated at least $53.3 million on hardware for its facial recognition project, Reuters reported last month. 

The Russian capital has one of the world's largest video surveillance networks, with over 170,000 cameras throughout the city. Facial recognition software is operational in 105,000 cameras installed at entrances to buildings, an unnamed source told Reuters last month.

Starting in September, facial recognition will be introduced in the Moscow metro. 

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