Tuesday, November 29, 2022
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Nobody will hide. The Moscow face recognition system will collect and analyze recordings from all video cameras in Russia

The Moscow Department of Information Technologies plans to finalize a unified data storage center, at the facilities of which the capital’s face recognition system operates, to centralize the collection of video streams in all regions of the country. From a technical point of view, this is logical, experts admit, since now no region can afford full-fledged computing power to process such a volume of data. The centralized analysis of video information becomes relevant in the face of an increased terrorist threat and the search for people who evade mobilization, participants in the Internet search market believe.

Edition “Kommersant” got acquainted with the materials of the state contract published by the Department of Information Technologies (DIT) of Moscow on September 29 at the RTS-Tender site. It follows from it that DIT wants to finalize a single data storage center (ETsHD, the main data center of the capital’s mayor’s office, at the facilities of which the face recognition system operates) in such a way that other regions of Russia can transmit video from their own street cameras to the capital’s data center for subsequent video processing. The contract amount is 43.3 million rubles, and the work must be completed before December 16, follows from the technical documentation.

The contract, among other things, will make it possible to integrate video surveillance systems from other regions with the ETsHD if desired by a specific subject of the Russian Federation, the DIT confirmed.

They added that the integration of external video surveillance systems involves only viewing video streams from cameras. Why it was required, the department did not specify.

A source close to DIT sees this decision as logical under the current conditions: “Not a single entity has either money, or a sufficiently large data center for storing video, or a centralized solution for video analytics, and Moscow has it all“. The task of centralizing the processing of a video stream from large cities on the basis of the ECHD is “not Newton’s binomial,” the source notes. According to him, it is only necessary to develop uniform standards for data transmission and agree on them with all equipment suppliers outside of Moscow.

According to the source, centralization will make the system more fault-tolerant: “The main task of the recognition system is to search for criminals whose faces are in the database of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. If an analogue of the ETsHD is deployed in each region, which will access the base of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, it will fall, and if one system accesses it, the load will be lower“.

Another interlocutor of Kommersant in the IT market notes that an unlimited number of databases and cameras can be connected to modern face recognition systems, but “significant expansion will require additional capacity“. Also, he says, the interconnected network must have high-quality data transmission at each of the points, but the quality of the Internet, the number of cameras and the availability of other technological infrastructure, including servers, varies greatly from region to region.

It is also technically possible to implement reverse data exchange – from Moscow to the regions, Oksana Yakimyuk, general designer of the Safe City system, believes: “However, it is not clear under what conditions information will be stored on Moscow servers, how long the regions will have to store this information. It is also unclear who will pay for the data transfer.“.

Now the interest of law enforcement agencies in search technologies is growing, “including due to the difficult political situation and the course of hostilities in Ukraine,” emphasizes one of Kommersant’s interlocutors: “Recognition is necessary for security“.

Igor Bederov, owner of the Internet Search company, adds that streaming video from regional cameras can be used to search not only for terrorists, but also for citizens who evade mobilization. But, the expert emphasizes, the police should have grounds for searching through the face recognition system, for example, an initiated criminal case or sanctions for carrying out other investigative measures.

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