Ukraine is using facial recognition tech to identify dead Russian soldiers and inform their families

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Ukraine is using facial recognition tech to identify dead Russian soldiers and inform their families
Soldiers stand near a Russian tank in Volnovakha, Donetsk, Ukraine on March 11, 2022.Leon Klein/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • Ukraine said it's using facial recognition tech to identify dead Russian soldiers.
  • The information is being used to contact families of those killed, Ukraine's vice prime minister said.
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The Ukrainian government is using facial recognition software to identify dead Russian soldiers, Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov told Reuters.

Beyond identification, he said, the information is being used to contact the relatives of the dead.

"As a courtesy to the mothers of those soldiers, we are disseminating this information over social media to at least let families know that they they've lost their sons, and to then enable them to come to collect their bodies," Fedorov told the wire service through a translator.

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The facial recognition tech being used is provided by a controversial startup named Clearview AI.

Its software identifies people using public images scraped from the web and social media platforms, without permission, to create a searchable database. If you want to identify someone, you simply upload a photo or snap a new one, and Clearview's software attempts to make a match.

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Photos of you, photos of friends and family — all of it is scraped and saved by Clearview AI. That includes 2 million photos pulled from the Russian social media service VKontakte, Clearview has previously said, according to Reuters.

Ukraine is using facial recognition tech to identify dead Russian soldiers and inform their families
What Clearview AI looks like in use.CBS This Morning

Access to that searchable database is then sold to police departments and federal agencies, Clearview says, but additional reports indicate that the company has also given access to other clients, including billionaires, retail chains like Walmart and Macy's, the NBA, and even some high schools.

In addition to identifying Russian soldiers, the software is allegedly also being used to identify potential Russian infiltrators attempting to enter the country at checkpoints.

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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