This month, the Russian government agreed to upgrade its network of security cameras monitoring the city of Moscow. The capital has roughly 160,000 active cameras keeping an eye on everything from traffic lights and street activity to garbage pickups and pet walkers.
Moscow’s move to upgrade 146,000 of its cameras follows a continuing effort in making the city a safer place that also adheres to the mandates of the law. Ironically, Russia is infamous for cases of corruption and the presence of organized crime.
Overall, the impact has been good, albeit forced upon the inhabitants of a city that used to be a referent for doing whatever you pleased. There is also the looming question of to what extent are government employees watching your every move.
Big Brother might use AI to watch over Moscow in the future
160,000 cameras are just the start for the Russian capital, as official efforts seek to increase the number of eyes on the street and potentially expand such surveillance systems to other cities like St. Petersburgh.
The implementation of these closed circuits allows for 75,000 fines per day in average just in the metropolitan area of the city. These contributions, presumably, ramp up to make a large part of Moscow’s yearly budget.
However, the Big Brother similarities, as evident as they are, go beyond simply overstepping potential privacy boundaries. Closely watching citizens has ensured that they abide by the rules and respect authorities around the city.
This positive outcome is not enough for Muscovite officials, who seek to make everything work even better by embracing technology. Artificial intelligence might soon make its way into control rooms where city workers’ overlook just doesn’t cut it.
CCTV surveillance has its ups and downs
It is unknown who Russia’s provider is for security cameras in Moscow, but the recent overhaul of the system cost north of $250 million. They are a one-time expense and relatively low-maintenance, though, so the bill comes mostly from servers that store footage for how long the city deems it necessary.
The quality of these systems plays a role too in their effectiveness, which is why the nation started testing facial recognition technology as well earlier this year. Still, the number of cameras in Moscow might not seem as surprising when compared to other places.
The United Kingdom has the largest number of CCTV cameras in the world, with more than 20% of the world’s total amount. Over 4 million cameras oversee the citizens on the street, at traffic lights, and even in the tube. Moscow has followed suit with 10,000 cameras installed in its subway last year.