Ukraine uses face recognition to identify the dead and spies

After it was revealed last month that Ukraine is using Clearview’s artificial intelligence to identify Russian soldiers, it is now also revealed that the Ukrainian government is using technology to identify its own soldiers.

Face recognition software would mainly be used to identify fallen soldiers. It is also used at checkpoints to detect possible spies. Clearview’s artificial intelligence is said to have already been used on more than a thousand people.

It is not flawless

However, critics say the technology is still wrong. This could lead to innocent people being accused of working for Russia. Clearview CEO Hoan Ton-That said the technology would be more than 99 percent accurate. The Ukrainian government has not yet commented on the issue.

Controversial company

Clearview is one of the most well-known and controversial providers of facial recognition technology. The company’s software works through a database of billions of photos taken from social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

According to Ton-That, it works like a face search engine, but critics say the app is a privacy threat. Although the company has been sued several times, the technology is now being used by police forces around the world. Dutch police have also used Clearview software at least fifty times.

Almost everyone in the database

Aric Toller, a Bellingcat investigative journalist, tells the BBC that this is not the first war in which face recognition is used. Bellingcat, for example, has already used technology in Syria to detect war crimes.

Before the war in Ukraine, Toller himself used FindClone, a Russian website that built a database of mostly Russian social media, to identify soldiers.

Toler says that even people without social networks can be traced. “They may not have a social media profile, but their wives or girlfriends can.” This means that even if someone has never had a profile on social media, it can still be found.

Technology even recognizes when someone is in the background of any photo on the internet. This means that even military personnel or security agents, who are difficult to find on the Internet, can still be traced.

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