Russia proposes app to track migrant workers' biometric data, "social trustworthiness"

Author: Damelya Aitkhozhina, Human Rights Watch (USA), Published on: 24 June 2020

Russia's latest app will track migrant workers — but who's next? 9 June 2020

On May 29, Russian state media reported that the authorities are considering introducing an app that migrant workers would have to download when they enter the country, once the borders re-open after the COVID-19 lockdown. Little is known about the proposal. But the few details that have been leaked to the media, coupled with Russia’s longstanding record of racial profiling, other racism against migrants, and recent developments in the “surveillance state” are grounds for serious alarm...

The reports said the app would contain, among other things, a migrant worker’s detailed biometric data, “health status,” and information on their police record. It is not clear from reports what ‘health status’ would include, nor was it clear what biometric information would be used — though in Russia this information could refer to height, weight, hair color, fingerprints, DNA analysis, retina images, facial recognition (photos and videos), and voice samples. Furthermore, the app would apparently note the person’s “social trustworthiness” rating. 

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