Face recognition on Moscow Metro leads to 900 arrests since September


Face recognition technology installed in stations across Moscow’s Metro system has led “about 900″ suspects being detained, according to the security services in the Russian capital.

It is said that the arrested people were suspected of committing serious crimes, including those related to drug trafficking, theft, causing grievous bodily harm and other violations.

The face recognition will also enable the launch of the FacePay service, which will allow paying for travel by “face” at turnstiles and at cash desks. The system is being tested and will be available to passengers throughout the metro by the end of 2021.

Nevertheless, the head of Moscow Metro’s Security Service Andrei Kichigin claims that the system used to identify criminals does not rely on any personal data. “The face recognition system does not know names or other personal data,” says Kichigin, going on to claim that, “only wanted people are checked, if they are in the law enforcement services’ database. If a person is not in the database, there is nothing to compare to.”

According to Moscow Metro, cameras also help to find lost children or elderly people. Since September 2020, the facial recognition system has helped find 25 children and minors. Another way to use the technology is to evaluate the work of metro employees and remotely monitor the quality of the cleaning service: for example, the quality of cleaning in cars and at stations. The cameras will also help improve the work of the service for assessing the load of cars.

“In general, all our actions are aimed at improving the passenger experience of using transport. This is the main goal of all the changes: the installation of CCTV cameras, face recognition and new digital services. We need to make sure we use efficient tools to ensure a safe and comfortable metro environment, ” says Andrei Kichigin, in an interview with Lenta.ru.


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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).