It seems that the classic George Orwell novel, 1984, though intended to be a warning, has actually become more of a muse.
According to Russian business publication Vedomosti, new facial recognition technology that is intended to be rolled out in schools across the country has been given, in a not so subtle twist, the name Orwell.
Meet Orwell: Russia’s new facial recognition system that is set to be rolled out in schools across the country.
More than 43,000 Russian schools are set to be equipped with facial recognition cameras and they are already currently being used in 1,600 of them.
The software has been described as an image-recognition monitoring system that is designed to protect children by monitoring their movements and identifying outsiders on the premises.
According to Yevgeny Lapshev, a representative for Elvis-Neotech, a subsidiary of state nanotechnology company Rosnan and the company responsible for preparing the systems for sale, the school databases would be stored locally to avoid leaks. Further, parents and children won’t be added to the network without their consent.
Many activist groups in Russia have expressed concerns over the use of surveillance technology, arguing that such systems are being used too much and with minimal oversight.
We are yet to see how this thermal and video imaging technology is yet to play out. All we know for sure is, that in a move straight out of a Cold War spy movie, Big Brother is definitely watching.