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Russia Plans Biometric Database for Citizens, Foreigners – TASS

Law enforcement will be able to identify individuals via face recognition and fingerprints. Sergei Fadeichev/TASS

Russia plans to create a national biometric database to identify both citizens and foreign nationals via face recognition and fingerprints, state media reported Sunday.

Russia’s Interior Ministry told the state-run TASS news agency it plans to develop the centralized biometric database in 2021-23.

The database will allow the authorities to identify individuals or bodies through Russia’s federal genetic identification search system, the official said.

The database will include the biometric data of Russian citizens and foreigners as well as stateless people.

The announcement comes after the RBC news website reported last week that the Interior Ministry plans to develop artificial intelligence to find serial criminals via DNA-based facial composites created by a neural network. 

Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev reportedly first announced plans to create a biometric database in 2014. The system is expected to integrate biometric identification with traffic surveillance and wanted lists.

In 2017, Russia passed a law allowing the Interior Ministry and Federal Security Service (FSB) to gain access to bank customers’ biometric data, including facial images and voice recordings, without their consent. The remote bank account verification operator has said it could expand the data to iris recognition, as well as palm and fingerprint scanning.

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