WATCHED: Russia to expand surveillance system by requiring integration of private video cameras into government surveillance networks
Reports indicate that Russian officials in the state of Perm Krai have mandated that private video camera owners must integrate their devices into a regional surveillance network, a practice that will soon be enforced nationwide.
The initiative, which was the result of a decree from Perm Krai Gov. Dmitry Makhonin, took effect on Jan. 25.
The private video camera mandate is in alignment with President Vladimir Putin’s martial law declaration in Ukraine’s occupied territories last October 2022, granting regional governors augmented powers to maintain the “security” of their assigned areas.
Russia’s citizen monitoring has significantly heightened following the beginning of the special military operation in Ukraine. Now, authorities are increasingly monitoring social media and using surveillance cameras to track both activists and citizens. Additionally, Moscow has recently tested facial recognition traffic lights.
Alexander Bykov, head of the main state-level traffic safety agency for the Moscow Oblast, has also suggested that providing biometric data should be obligatory. (Related: British police secretly using U.K. passport database to conduct facial recognition searches.)
Facial recognition a key part of Russia’s surveillance strategy
Facial recognition is an important element in Russia’s surveillance strategy. The technology has already been used to detain opposition activists and identify individuals who ignored military draft summons.
In April 2023, Putin signed a law tightening restrictions on draft evaders. The law also required call-up papers to be delivered electronically, instead of in person by an enlistment officer or employer.
The measures were a challenging obstacle for thousands of men aged between 18 and 27 who, during spring and autumn, try hard to avoid recruitment officers who force them to do their year of compulsory military service. Recruitment officers also notified individuals called up for service in Ukraine under a mobilization announced last 2022.
Maxim Loktev, Moscow’s chief enlistment officer, told the state-owned news agency TASS that video surveillance systems in the city of Moscow were being used to locate the “place of residence of the conscript.”
In 2017, Moscow’s Department of Information Technologies reported that more than 3,000 surveillance cameras in the city had been connected to a facial recognition system.
Russia’s compulsory military service provides a pool of young, trained personnel who can be encouraged or pressured to sign up as professional soldiers while Russia tries to expand its armed forces. The country has already mobilized an estimated 300,000 reservists to fight in Ukraine.
Arrests due to facial recognition have also been reported in subways and train stations.
Sergey Suchkov, CEO of NtechLab, has explained that facial recognition is already operational in 62 regions.
The move is part of the Ministry of Digital Development’s “Data Economy” project, which is targeting the compilation of a comprehensive profile of citizens’ activities.
As of writing, private cameras in Russia are inaccessible to regional authorities.
In November 2023, the Digital Development department reported that only half of the 1.2 million street cameras are state-owned. The project’s major goal is to centralize street surveillance, with private cameras playing a significant role in monitoring.
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Watch the video below to see Russian forces attack North Atlantic Treaty Organization facilities in Zaporizhia.
This video is from The Prisoner channel on Brighteon.com.
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