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Metro payment with facial recognition in Russia: the debate has begun

In the metro in Moscow, the capital of Russia, the payment option with facial recognition was introduced. Russian digital activists fear that state repression will increase. Officials announced that the information is encrypted, but the Home Office can access the information.

Moscow, the capital of Russia, is covered by a wide metro network. Every day, millions of people use these subways for transportation.
A new payment method is being used at more than 240 stops on the Moscow Metro.
Users can use the facial recognition system to pay for transportation.
According to Russian officials, this system is the first large-scale payment system with facial recognition.
No card, cash, or phone is required in the system called Face Pay. One look at the facial recognition system is enough to get on the subway.
“The technology is quite new and complex. We will continue to develop it,” said Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.
According to an official statement, the passengers’ information is securely encrypted. However, Interior Ministry officials can access this data if necessary.
Russian digital activists are against the practice. “This is a dangerous new step for population control in Russia,” said Stanislav Shakirov, founder of Roskomsvoboda, an organization that advocates digital rights and freedom of information.
Shakirov claimed Russia was moving towards an authoritarian regime, just like the People’s Republic of China.
The activist said the subway was a government service and that information there could easily get into the hands of security forces.
Russian officials have already announced that this information can be viewed by internal affairs officials.
There are more than 175,000 surveillance cameras in Moscow.
Human rights defenders say these cameras with facial recognition systems are used to track down dissidents.
More than 6 million people use the Russian subway every day.
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