Facial recognition payment system arrives in the Moscow metro
Facial recognition payment system arrives in the Moscow metro

Officials said Moscow has introduced Face Pay, a facial recognition payment system implemented at more than 240 Mocetro stations, and the world's most widely used facial recognition technology.

The Russian metro - the busiest metro in Europe and which receives more than 6 million passengers per day - is itself a tourist attraction. Some stations are decorated with mosaics that reflect a range of Soviet themes.

The service relies on stored images to verify payments in the metro, which is an apparent privacy concern given the previous use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement agencies in the Russian capital.

With Face Pay, metro passengers have to upload photos and link their bank and metro cards to the Mocetro mobile app. With everything set up, all you have to do is control the camera above the turnstile to get to the next train on time.

Moscow authorities assume that 10 to 15 percent of passengers will use Face Pay regularly within the next two to three years. She hopes that wasting time and paying for travel during the ongoing pandemic will shorten queues and wait times and reduce close contact.

Relatively convenient biometrics technology could add concept to the payment system currently being rolled out in the US with Amazon One, the palm-recognition technology from e-commerce giant Amazon.

As noted by the Guardian, Moscow's IT department has claimed that the photos collected through official channels will not be passed on to the police. Instead, they are encrypted in the ETSHD Moscow Unified Data Storage and Processing Center system.

Facial recognition payment system arrives in the Moscow metro

But this did not convince Russian data protection advocates. It is another dangerous step in which Russia is trying to control its population. "We have to be completely transparent about how it works in practice," said human rights activist Stanislav Shakirov. The Moscow Metro is a government agency and all data can ultimately be in the hands of the security service.

We are getting closer and closer to an authoritarian country like China that is perfecting face technology, added Chakrov, founder of the Roskomsvoboda Group, which is committed to protecting digital rights and freedom of information.

Shakilov had good cause for concern. Moscow's application of facial recognition technology to its vast network of more than 10,000 CCTV cameras is horrifying.

Moscow recently expanded its facial recognition technology to the capital with a network of more than 175,000 surveillance cameras.

Rights activists said cameras were used to identify protesters who attended the rally in support of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

and the possibility of misuse of data by local law enforcement agencies in Moscow. Obviously, the system can be hacked by hackers for $200.

This is the real danger of using face recognition in more and more urban everyday life. The system itself is the weakest target for the worst abuse. The government can also keep track of citizens' movements more easily.

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