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Privacy Security Technology

Moscow Deploys Facial Recognition to Spy on Citizens in Streets (bloomberg.com) 68

Moscow is adding facial-recognition technology to its network of 170,000 surveillance cameras across the city in a move to identify criminals and boost security. From a report: Since 2012, CCTV recordings have been held for five days after they're captured, with about 20 million hours of video stored at any one time. "We soon found it impossible to process such volumes of data by police officers alone," said Artem Ermolaev, head of the department of information technology in Moscow. "We needed an artificial intelligence to help find what we are looking for." Moscow says the city's centralized surveillance network is the world's largest of its kind. The U.K. is one of the most notorious for its use of CCTV cameras but precise figures are difficult to obtain. However, a 2013 report by the British Security Industry Association estimated there were as many as 70,000 cameras operated by the government across the nation.
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Moscow Deploys Facial Recognition to Spy on Citizens in Streets

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  • A storm starts with a single raindrop.

    Total surveillance starts with a single camera.

    Or, to use another analogy, we are the frogs.

    • by hord ( 5016115 )

      The odd thing is that while we don't want state surveillance, we already have a camera in every store including parking lots and sidewalks. We are being watched but it's by ourselves because of ourselves. A weird effect of the social cost of some crimes, I guess.

    • Total surveillance starts with a single camera.

      The totality was limited not only by our rights or privacy-expectations, but by the capabilities of the law-enforcement. It was always perfectly legal for the government to place a police officer on every corner — there just weren't enough officers and their ability to share and archive their observations was limited.

      But technology has solved those limitations technological limitations... If we do not want it used, we need new laws to the effect.

      • When used in this adversarial way, facial recognition is a force multiplier [wikipedia.org] to allow a small number of people to control the actions of a large number of people. In the same way as a gun.

        I can't speak for Russia, but the UK police have, to date, had very little practical success [liberty-hu...hts.org.uk] with facial recognition.

        (The article link is Liberty's breakdown of the London Metropolitan Police's worryingly inaccurate and painfully crude facial recognition operation used at the 2017 Notting Hill Carnival).
    • by Agripa ( 139780 )

      The avalanche has already started; it is too late for the pebbles to vote.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    When russia does it, it's spying. When the US government does it, it's surveillance. Even though the effect on privacy is the same (to basically shit all over it), it's just so much more noble when your own government does it.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      AND when it's Kim jong UN who does it it's a personal home video-protection system.

    • When russia does it, it's spying. When the US government does it, it's surveillance.

      "Surveillance" and "spying" are synonyms.

  • by svendsen ( 1029716 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @11:59AM (#55270399)
    We pay for the privilege of using our facial recognition detecting phones and giving it to the government directly :-)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And we stand in line for days in advance, sign two-year contracts, and we're HAPPY about it.

  • This is a perfectly hidden advertisement for N-Tech.Lab. Yes, their algorithm has won certain face recognition competitions but this bloomberg article is a whole lot better for their publicity.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28, 2017 @12:11PM (#55270477)

    With the help of GE and AT&T of course. I guess we are no better than Russia.

    http://fortune.com/2017/02/22/san-diego-ge-intel-att/

    • We stopped being any better than Russia quite a few years ago.

  • I guess maybe we should watch Russia's press to let us know when our government does the same.

    Oh wait we already missed it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Is already being deployed in NYC. Facial rec. is coming to every corner as we speak.

    • by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @12:39PM (#55270667)

      The amount of spying in NYC (or London, or etc.) is one of the reasons why I avoid NYC (or London, or etc.)

      This stuff will eventually be everywhere, of course, but I'll avoid it for as long as I can.

      • The amount of spying in NYC (or London, or etc.) is one of the reasons why I avoid NYC (or London, or etc.)

        This stuff will eventually be everywhere, of course, but I'll avoid it for as long as I can.

        I mean, there's no reason to seek it out, but it's also not a great reason to avoid a place for 99.9% of people. We're just not that interesting.

        • I mean, there's no reason to seek it out, but it's also not a great reason to avoid a place for 99.9% of people. We're just not that interesting.

          That I object to it is plenty enough of a reason. Whether or not I'm of interest to anybody isn't even a little relevant.

  • We did it! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @12:58PM (#55270821)

    Congratulations, my fellow computer scientists, we're finally destroying freedom! ;)

  • Recognising faces in random footages with different quality and weather conditions, from any angle, people being in whatever position, wearing anything, performing any action, etc.? Like in the movies, where laser beam are automatically pointing to the eyes of each person entering in a building? LOL. I don't think so. The accuracy of any system on these lines is probably extremely low.
  • No more excuses when an opposition leader gets gunned down outside the Kremlin.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      yeah, that's exactly the time when stuff won't be working right.

      There was a 4-car pileup right outside my window... yes, there's a camera looking right at the intersection. It turned out that the camera only saves 1 frame every 30 seconds. So the car that smashed into everyone drove away... and as far as I know, nobody ever found it.

  • Gotta love the Bias. When the west does these things it's for the citizens or to stop crime, when russia do it, it's all about the spying.
  • "We live in an open world," Ermolaev said. "It’s easy to track that Laura from the sixth apartment is being visited often by Mike from a neighboring building without the city’s surveillance cameras."

    I have to wonder if Artem has read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. It has one of my favorite quotes ('cause I'm eaaasy) that I think fits humanity, from my own perspective.

    In a closed society where everybody's guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is s

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