In Moscow’s technological progress, a ‘double-edged sword’

Moscow officials have tried to allay concerns about invasion of privacy by insisting that the images and data collected are “securely encrypted”. Roskomsvoboda said, however, that they have revealed evidence that the system is porous, vulnerable to intruders who can use the data and images. for criminal purposes.

Privacy advocates are pushing for a more transparent control system for this and other advanced and often intrusive technologies. “We need to make sure that all these innovations are used to help people, not harm them,” said Mr. Koslyuk.

Face Pay is part of a broader effort in the city to introduce technological solutions. Moscow is without a doubt Russia’s “smartest” city, not least because it is the country’s capital and a focus of government attention. Its 12.5 million people make it the second most populous city in Europe – and it’s growing. Between 2002 and 2010, while Russia’s population fell by 1.2 percent, Moscow grew by 10.9 percent. And the average wage in the capital is almost double the national average.

The capital is also receiving royal treatment by the federal government. In 2019, Moscow’s urban renewal budget corresponded to the rest of the country.

“Moscow has the power in terms of economy and budgets,” said Sergei Kamolov, a professor at the prestigious Moscow State Institute of International Relations. “Moscow is in the avant-garde, a test case for all kinds of systems.”

Two years ago, Russia adopted its own system for ranking its “smart cities,” measuring what is called their “IQ level.” This provides cities with benchmarks to measure progress in introducing modern techniques and digital services to their people. Sir. Kamolov said these are useful tools to pressure local officials to achieve the goals set in a national “Smart Cities” program.

Sir. Kamolov, who is a member of a working group on the “Smart Cities” program, warns that its ideas and technologies can not be easily copied from city to city. Nor, he said, do fancy new technologies necessarily have an impact on citizens’ quality of life. “It seems to me that ‘Smart Cities’ is a deep marketing concept, ” he said in a telephone interview.

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