Russian police are using digital technology for protesters
Russian police are using digital technology for protesters

Georgy Malets did not attend a rally against the Kremlin last month, but Russian police arrested him using facial recognition technology on the Moscow subway.

The 30-year-old Russian photo blogger said: Russian police told him that he was identified by the Face ID camera system and that they should be escorted to the police station for inspection.

Malets added to Reuters: I could see that they had some kind of pictures, but it was not from cameras, it was a picture from my account via social networks.

He said: Russian police said he was interrogated for four hours as a witness in a criminal case: The previous march had already started and he did not participate in the January 31 protests.

However, reports from other protesters who have participated in the protests in recent weeks also support imprisoned opposition politician Alexei Navalny, suggesting that the police are using facial recognition technology to conduct arrests and preventive detention.

A police officer told TASS News: The technology uses images stored in a database of ordinary protesters.

Samaruddin Radjabov was accused in 2019 of throwing a plastic bottle at a police officer. He said: He was also arrested on the subway just before the January 31 rally and then released.

Ekaterina Shulman said her husband, Mikhail, was arrested after hitting the Moscow metro in protest.

She told Reuters that the Russian police said: He was arrested to verify facial reactions, and in some criminal cases, he is expected to be a witness by investigators.

She added that three other people were found in the police station and transferred to the police station using facial recognition technology.

The Moscow Mayor's Office announced that it will introduce a facial recognition system in the metro to identify wanted criminals when Russia hosts the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

There are surveillance cameras all over Moscow. Kirill Korotev, a lawyer for human rights organization Agora, said: We still don't know much about the facial recognition system in Moscow.

Internet freedom defender Sarkis Darbinian said: First they said: The system is used to find missing children and fugitive criminals, then they use it to monitor self-isolation during the pandemic, and it is now used to protest and monitor human rights defenders.

The Kremlin defended the police to prevent them from being accused of using disproportionate force. He said the protest is illegal because it is unauthorized and can spread the coronavirus.

Kalui Achillgov, the protester's founder, said protesters have used social media to coordinate rallies for years and now have a smartphone app that makes it easier for them to find a lawyer while in detention.

Advocall includes an emergency button to call a lawyer, call a lawyer, and instructions on what to do during detention or interrogation.

Akhilgov, who runs a law firm, said his attorneys provide free support to protesters if needed. About 4,600 people have downloaded the app and have received over 300 of them. Request legal aid.

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