Russian court refuses to ban facial recognition system in Moscow

Savelovsky court of Moscow has rejected the suit of the capital’s resident, activist Alena Popova, who demanded to prohibit face recognition by the city’s video surveillance systems, reports the correspondent of “MBH Media”.

Alena Popova decided to file a lawsuit after the Tverskoy court brought her to administrative responsibility and fined her 20 thousand rubles for a single picket near the State Duma building. The court passed this decision after examining the video surveillance footage, which showed the applicant’s face with a 32-fold increase.

Popova believes that under the law on personal data the law enforcement agencies had no right to analyze biometrics without her written consent, so the actions of the Moscow government are illegal. According to her, this is a violation of Article 23 of the Constitution (“Everyone has the right to privacy”).

“This technology is selectively applied to a certain circle of people. No one has the right to secretly collect information about a person. This is punishable by a criminal term, and then Moscow collects the information,” Popova said.

A representative of Moscow’s Department of Information Technologies said that Popova’s face was not identified by using face recognition technology but rather with a passport or other document. According to him, the algorithm of video surveillance does not establish the identity, and therefore it is not biometric information.

Popova asked a representative of the department to quote Article 23 of the Constitution, but he said in response:

“Let’s do without the Constitution”.

The representative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs said that the plaintiff did not give any example of violation of her rights and misinterpreted the concept of biometric data. At the same time, he confirmed that the police transfer images to the Department of Information Technology for recognition.