The police in the Russian capital Moscow may use face recognition technology to identify and arrest citizens. A judge ruled that Wednesday in a lawsuit between a demonstrator and the Russian authorities, Vice reports.

Russian activist Alena Popova demonstrated against sexual harassment in Moscow at the end of 2018, after which she was arrested by the police. The demonstration was not allowed by the Russian authorities and therefore Popova had to pay a fine of 20,000 rubles (283 euros).

According to Popova, the arrest was unlawful because the police could only pick her up after using facial recognition software. According to the activist, this is contrary to the Russian constitution, because the biometric data of citizens cannot simply be used without permission.

On Wednesday, however, a judge in Russia ruled that the police had the right to use face recognition, paving the way for face recognition on a large scale in Russia.

Moscow wants to follow China when it comes to using face recognition systems to monitor the city. Last year, the mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin, announced a plan to hang 200,000 security cameras in the city. According to Sobyanin, a system on this scale is only matched by China.

See also: For example, governments use face scanners to track citizens