Face recognition: Ukraine identifies dead Russians and informs relatives

According to the Washington Post, scans are used to identify the bodies of fallen Russian soldiers. The family members will then be contacted and informed.

Since the start of the war, Ukrainian authorities have used Clearview AI software to scan more than 8,600 dead or captured Russian soldiers to identify them and contact their families. Volunteer hackers on the Ukraine side are said to have used the software 582 times. This emerges from a report by the Washington Post. Ukraine wants to counteract Russian propaganda. Experts see it as an instrument of psychological warfare.

Against Russian propaganda

Clearview AI CEO Hoan Ton-That told the Washington Post that more than 340 officials in five Ukrainian government agencies can use their program to perform facial recognition searches for free. Employees also conduct weekly training sessions with Ukrainian police and military officials. The company first offered its services to Ukraine last month, according to Ton-That, after Russia claimed captured soldiers were actors or scammers.

According to the report, facial recognition software is not only used for dead soldiers. “Clearview AI” is also used at border posts to detect possible Russian saboteurs. In addition, face recognition would also be used for security recordings. In this way, soldiers responsible for war crimes and looting can be identified.

“Classic Psychological Warfare”

The “Clearview” software accesses a huge database that is fed from social media networks and publicly accessible websites. The image database alone contains 20 billion photos. Ukraine sent hundreds of families pictures of dead soldiers via contact tracing. However, informing the relatives can also be understood differently.

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Surveillance expert Stephanie Hare told the Washington Post that Ukraine’s actions were “classic psychological warfare”. She sees the danger of a “dangerous new standard for future conflicts”. In addition, the actions could arouse even more hatred against Ukrainians.

In addition, according to Hare, “Clearview AI” is interested in using its work in Ukraine to promote itself to government customers around the world and “to profit from the tragedy”. Clearview boss Ton-That told the newspaper that the company’s only goal is to help defend a country under siege. But he did concede that the war helped teach parts of the US government the usefulness of the software.



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