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Criminals are offering stalking services, through the use of Moscow’s camera system, to identify and track people for $200.  Customers provide a picture and the criminals will return a report of where that person has been, where they frequent, and more.  Apparently, the data is being gleaned from the police facial recognition camera system, that includes over 100,000 cameras positioned to watch the city.

It is a disturbing example how mass surveillance, coupled with biometrics, can be hijacked and misused. Tech is a tool. Even tech that is created to serve and protect, can be twisted to abuse and enslave.

All technology comes with risks.  It is far better to address and manage those risks proactively so the benefits can be realized without suffering blatant abuses. A related case has been filed with the European Court of Human rights, complaining the system has been used to identify demonstrators at rallies to control the political opposition.

The combination of video & audio surveillance, with AI, and biometrics is extremely powerful for whomever is going to be able to use it.  Clear controls, limitations, and proper oversight are needed to protect rights and manage the risks of misuse.

 

Further Reading:

https://www.theverge.com/2020/11/11/21561018/moscows-facial-recognition-system-crime-bribe-stalking

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-privacy-lawsuit-feature-trfn-idUSKBN27P10U

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