The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) declared that the use of facial recognition technology against protesters in Russia infringes upon their right to freedom of expression and privacy. This case, known as Glukhin v. Russia, involved Mr Nikolay Sergeyevich Glukhin being identified and arrested via facial recognition cameras after he held a solo demonstration on the Moscow metro.
ARTICLE 19, an organization advocating for freedom of expression and information rights, has celebrated this groundbreaking ruling. They have been voicing concerns over misuse of biometric technologies like facial recognition by States and private actors that could deter individuals from expressing themselves in public spaces or exercising their rights due to fear of surveillance.
Coming back to our main story, Mr Glukhin staged ‘a solo demonstration’ on the Moscow underground, supporting Konstantin Kotov — a protester who had gained significant media attention. Not long after his protest, police used facial recognition technology to identify him through social media photos and CCTV footage from the Moscow underground. He was fined 20,000 Russian rubles (about 283 euros) for not notifying authorities about his protest.
The ECHR ruling underscores the importance of proper legal frameworks for using such technologies. While they can be helpful tools in many circumstances, it’s clear they also hold potential for misuse leading to severe human rights violations if not regulated properly. So here’s hoping this decision aids in putting appropriate checks in place globally for future use.