Moscow states that it was the first to launch a large-scale metro facial ID payment system

Moscow — On Friday, Moscow’s vast metro network launched a fare payment system using facial recognition technology at more than 240 stations. This was stated by the authorities as the first initiative in the world.

Moscow, a city of 12.7 million, has one of the largest video surveillance systems in the world. Protesters who conducted COVID-19 quarantine using facial recognition technology and attended political rallies also stated that police used it to carry out preventative arrests and detentions.

Authorities are now offering commuters the option to pay using facial recognition using a system called “face pay” at the ticket gates equipped with cameras.

“Moscow is the first city in the world to operate this system on such a scale,” said Maxim Rixtov, head of transport in the Russian capital, in a statement.

Liksutov said the use of “Face Pay” is voluntary and other payment methods continue to be used.

Before using the system, commuters must submit a photo and link it to transportation or a bank card via the Moscow Metro application. To use the metro, commuters registered with “Face Pay” simply look at the cameras installed in the specified turnstile.

The city’s transport department said commuter data is securely encrypted. However, digital rights groups say the system can compromise privacy and human rights.

Roskomsvoboda, a group specializing in the protection of digital rights and freedom of information, warns that FacePay may be used for surveillance purposes.

The Mayor of Moscow announced that Russia will deploy a facial recognition system in the metro to find wanted criminals in 2018, when it hosted the World Cup in football.