We demand a “facial recognition technology” federal ban in Russia

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We demand a federal ban on the use of “facial recognition technology” in Russia. Especially by law enforcement agencies in the absence of clearly formulated laws protecting citizens from manipulation by the authorities and the illegal use of biometric personal data.

We urge everyone to protect the privacy and autonomy of privacy guaranteed to us and our children (which is important in the conditions of their complete insecurity in conditions of total surveillance) by the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

The latest version of Article 23 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation reads:
1. Everyone has the right to privacy, personal and family secrets, protection of his honor and good name.

2. Everyone has the right to privacy of correspondence, telephone conversations, postal, telegraphic and other communications. The restriction of this right is allowed only on the basis of a court decision.

However, our faces get into a database illegally obtained by the authorities by spying on us, along with photographs of criminals and without a court order. There are no legal grounds at the moment that would allow the authorities to collect our biometric data WITHOUT OUR CURRENCY AND WITHOUT A COURT RESOLUTION FOR SUCH ACTION.

However, in May, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin promised to hold a large-scale competition for installing up to 200,000 cameras with facial recognition in Moscow - this is one of the largest systems for total tracking of citizens in the world after China.

What is harmful about facial recognition technology, besides the fact that it is illegal:

1. The state without the consent of citizens interferes excessively in their privacy

2. The police begin to monitor not the criminals and suspects, but everyone

3. The fight against political opposition is simplified

Facial recognition technology has already been used in the "Moscow case", that is, against citizens who disagree with the actions of the authorities. Given how corruption works in Russia, your competitors will be able to calmly get complete data, for example, about your child, his movements, in general, everything that he does. This is achieved simply: the person is determined, all the pages on social networks are located. And that’s all! Here is the regime of total surveillance, which can bring to blackmail, manipulation, crime, as well as an illegal violation of the Constitution of the Russian Federation. That is, the whole personal life of any person completely disappears.

It is important to know that at the moment, none of the citizens can control:
1. whose faces are in the base

2. Where our data is stored

3. who, how and when has access to them

And, most importantly, there are no sanctions for the leakage of our personal data from these databases. There are no sanctions if your data obtained through the facial recognition system are in the same database as the data of real criminals.

How this works in Russia in practice can be illustrated with a simple example:

In October 2018, Russian citizen Mikhail Axel was stopped by police at the Sportivnaya metro station. A police officer showed him his phone number, where there was a photograph of Axel taken by a surveillance camera, as well as information about him from the base of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Axel was marked as a wanted person. However, he was not on any wanted list, was taken to the police station illegally, and then released. But it’s important that when Axel asked how to remove his data from the base since he was not officially charged with anything, the police officer replied: “No way.”

We filed a lawsuit against the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Government of Moscow and DIT Moscow, we will fight in the courts, fight, creating a legislative ban on the illegal collection of biometric data, fight to protect us and our families from total surveillance, blackmail, and manipulation. We urge you to support our struggle and protect yourself and your families.