Moscow activist Alyona Popova has submitted a lawsuit asking for the city’s implementation of facial recognition technology to be declared illegal. Sarkis Darbinyan, an attorney for the free speech group Roskomsvoboda who is representing Popova in court, notified Vedomosti of the lawsuit.
Popova is arguing that processing biometric data without receiving written permission from the individuals affected is a violation of Russia’s law on personal information and of the Russian Constitution’s privacy guarantees. She brought the lawsuit after a high-resolution security image was used to fine her for picketing outside Russia’s State Duma building; Popova wrote that a camera zoomed in on her even before the picket began. The activist was protesting Deputy Leonid Slutsky’s repeated sexual harassment of female journalists.
Moscow City Hall’s Information Technology Department argued in response to Popova’s suit that “using the video analysis system is essential to ensuring the safety of [Moscow’s] citizens” and that 70 percent of law enforcement investigations use security camera footage.
Alyona Popova is known as a leading campaigner for women’s rights and anti-domestic violence laws in Russia.