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100,000 cameras: Moscow uses facial recognition to enforce quarantine

Surveillance cameras in Moscow, Russia.
Surveillance cameras in Moscow, Russia. © AFP / FRANCE 24

In Moscow, a network of 100,000 cameras equipped with facial recognition technology are being used to make sure anyone placed under quarantine stays off the streets. Russia is just one of several countries using high-tech surveillance in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

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The cameras are controlled from a purpose-built coronavirus control centre.

Images and personal details of those under quarantine are put on a database so they can be recognised by the cameras.

The centre can also be used to monitor social media for ‘fake news’ on the coronavirus, according to officials, and track international arrivals from virus hotspots.

Russia is not the only country to enlist high-tech surveillance amid the coronavirus pandemic, raising questions about how states balance civil liberties with the need to control the virus.

South Korea has been using surveillance cameras, mobile phone location data and credit card records to track movements of coronavirus patients.

Taiwan is using phone location-tracking to ensure quarantined people stay in their homes and in Hong Kong those under quarantine are being made to wear location-tracking wristbands.

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