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16 Jun, 2020 12:34

Big Brother is Watching! Facial recognition camera system named ‘Orwell’ to be installed in all 43,000 schools in Russia

Big Brother is Watching! Facial recognition camera system named ‘Orwell’ to be installed in all 43,000 schools in Russia

All Russian schools will soon be equipped with face-recognition cameras, with the stated aim of protecting the safety of children by tracking a child’s comings and goings in school, as well as by identifying visitors.

According to reports by Russian business daily Vedomosti, Rostec's National Center for Informatization (NCI) will be equipping educational centers with video surveillance systems for inside their buildings, as well as cameras to protect their perimeters.

The video-recording equipment will be hooked up to a platform called ‘Orwell,’ a surveillance system with the ability to perform face recognition, provided by Russian company NtechLab.

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The first stage of the project has already been completed, according to a representative from NCI. Video surveillance systems have been delivered to 1,608 educational institutions in 12 regions. When the project is completed, every school in Russia will be fully equipped.

According to Evgeny Lapshev, a spokesperson for technology concern Elvis-Neotec, who is also working on the project, this system allows real-time identification of faces, which can be compared with monitoring lists and used to send notifications when matches are found.

Elvis-Neotec has been involved in more than 500 such projects since 2011, including equipping the National Defense Management Center with security systems and projects at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport.

Following the publication of Vedomosti’s article, the National Center for Informatization released a statement denying that the company would be equipping 43,000 schools with facial-recognition cameras. According to the statement, “technical specifications for the equipment supplied do not involve the use of face recognition technology.” NCI, however, admitted that they had delivered 1,425 CCTV systems with Orwell capabilities, as well as 26,500 cameras, to schools in 10 regions of Russia.

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