Posted on Apr 22, 2016 by Rick Falkvinge

That was quick: Moscow subway to scan all passenger faces this year

Last week, there was a story of how a photographer on the Moscow subway had taken photos of random people and identified them using their social media profile’s portraits.

We noted that this was a game changer, and would likely lead to CCTVs identifying people within five years. As it turns out, that’s happening far sooner – plans are in place, again in Moscow, to have face-recognition cameras in the subway before the year is up:

Special cameras are already being installed at the entrances and platforms of all Moscow metro stations. There will be 20,000 new cameras, all together. The new system will scan individuals as soon as they enter a subway station, and be capable of tracking that person’s movements within the metro. […] Anyone behaving suspiciously on camera will be identified using [photos from a separate database].

So while this doesn’t use the social media portraits, it seems to be the same general idea. This technology is coming, and it will change behavior patterns enormously as people counter it to safeguard their privacy. As to how, that’s hard to say today.

There’s also talk in the grapevine that the FindFace service – which matches random photos with people’s social Russian media profiles – is now also being used to de-anonymize porn talent. While an unsubstantiated rumor, this is exactly the kind of usage that would be expected to develop, so even if it isn’t true today, it will be true tomorrow.

About Rick Falkvinge

Rick is Head of Privacy at Private Internet Access. He is also the founder of the first Pirate Party and is a political evangelist, traveling around Europe and the world to talk and write about ideas of a sensible information policy. Additionally, he has a tech entrepreneur background and loves good whisky and fast motorcycles.


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  • Antimon555

    This is what I want to be done with the rights to use different types of camera surveillance, and the use of corresponding signs. Unfortunately it is in Swedish, and I don’t have the time to translate it. Try a translation service unless you can read Swedish
    I don’t think I can post links here, so I’ll try that in a separate comment.

    integritetsnytt (dot) wordpress (dot) com/2015/06/17/en-overvakningskamera-ar-inte-langre-bara-en-overvakningskamera/