Russian sex workers targeted using FindFace facial recognition app

Occurred: February 2016

Russia-based facial recognition app FindFace was used to identify and harass Russian porn actresses and prostitutes, resulting in complaints about privacy loss.

According to a GlobalVoices report, users of Russian imageboard “Dvach” (2chan) launched a campaign to deanonymise actresses and alleged prostitutes, and share archived copies of the victims' Vkontakte pages with their friends and families. Women registered on the website 'Intimcity' website, which markets prostitution services, were also targeted.

Participants of the campaign were allegedly motivated by moral outrage towards an industry they viewed as 'corrupt and deceptive.'

The incident raised concerns about the ease which consumer facial recognition systems can be miused. It also prompted questions about the governance of NtechLab, the company behind FindFace. 


Developer: NtechLab
Country: Russia
Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts
Purpose: Identify individuals
Technology: Facial recognition
Issue: Governance; Ethics/values; Privacy; Safety
Transparency: Governance; Privacy

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: March 2023
Last updated: January 2024