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Ukraine taps face recognition tech to identify killed, spot Russian spies

Ukraine taps face recognition tech to identify killed, spot Russian spies
Photo Credit: Pixabay
15 Mar, 2022
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Ukraine is using face recognition technology (FRT) to identify people killed in the ongoing war with Russia, detect their spies and fight misinformation, as reported by Reuters

The face recognition tech being used by Ukraine is being supplied by the New York-based company Clearview AI, which has made its search engine for faces available for free to Ukraine as part of a special operation. 

The company said it has not offered its services to Russia. 

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Clearview AI claims it has a database of 10 billion photos, out of which 2 billion are from the Russian social media network VKontakte. 

According to Reuters, after the Russian invasion, Clearview AI’s chief executive and co-founder Hoan Ton-That had reached out to Ukraine’s government offering its assistance. 

He said his company’s face recognition database will work even if there is facial damage and it can help Ukraine identify the dead a lot more easily as compared to other methods such as fingerprint recognition.  

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Though FRT technology has been found to be helpful, many privacy experts have warned that they cannot be completely relied upon as they are prone to errors, which can result in unnecessary agony for ordinary citizens. Several countries and cities across the world have banned the use of FRT by law enforcement agencies. 

FRT solutions can capture facial features from an image to create biometric information, which can then be matched with the database of faces for a potential match.

Several tech companies ranging from software companies to internet infrastructure providers have halted sales and supply of their products and services in Russia to mount global pressure on Russia to stop the invasion. 

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Many have also extended tech support to Ukraine in the form of internet hardware and cybersecurity. 

Microsoft has deployed its virus detection systems to detect new malware and threats and alert the Ukraine cyber defence unit. 

Cybersecurity company Bitdefender has also said it will lend its threat intelligence tools to Ukraine. 

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Russia on its part has also banned Facebook and Twitter for reportedly taking down misleading content posted by the country's media.