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Privacy Fears as Moscow Metro Rolls Out Facial Recognition Pay System

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A man entering the turnstile of the Moscow metro, which uses the Face Pay facial recognition system.

The Moscow authorities expect up to 15% of metro passengers will use Face Pay regularly in the next three years. They said the system would quicken the flow of people, particularly at peak times.

Credit: Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP/Getty Images

Privacy activists warn the Moscow metro's just-launched cashless, cardless, and phoneless Face Pay facial recognition payment system constitutes a sinister move by Russia to monitor and control its people.

Moscow mayor Sergey Sobyanin said passengers must connect their photo, bank card, and metro card to Face Pay via the metro's mobile application, and city authorities said passengers' data will be "securely encrypted."

Stanislav Shakirov with digital rights activist group Roskomsvoboda said, "We are moving closer to authoritarian countries like China that have mastered facial technology. The Moscow metro is a government institution and all the data can end up in the hands of the security services."

From The Guardian (U.K.)
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