Artist uses FindFace to identify St. Petersburg subway passengers

Occurred: April 2016

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A Russian artist used facial recognition app FindFace to identify passengers on St. Petersburg's subway system, resulting in concerns about the invasiveness of the technology and the end of anonymity.

Egor Tsvetkov photographed random passengers on the St. Petersburg subway and used FindFace to match the pictures to the individuals’ pages on Russian social network Vkontakte. Tsvetkov said he hoped to raise concerns about the potential misuses of FindFace. 

Per GlobalVoices, Tsvetkov appears to have inspired a campaign to identify and harass Russian porn actresses and prostitutes.  

FindFace founder Maxim Perlin told TJournal that he could not prevent people from using his service to harass women, while pointing out that distributing pornography illegally in Russia is a felony.


Operator: Egor Tsvetkov
Developer: NtechLab
Country: Russia
Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts
Purpose: Identify individuals
Technology: Facial recognition
Issue: Privacy
Transparency: Governance