How protesters are 'deanonymising' Russia's riot police
Online tools identify policemen who violently dispersed protesters in Moscow
Publisher: Global Voices
Date Written: 05/08/2019
Year Published: 2019
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX23776
Tools such as reverse-image search are being used to identify police who violently broke up a protest in Moscow. The legality of releasing this information and the threats some people are making with it is discussed.
The online flashmob to "deanonymise: policemen has assembled around the hashtag #"they broke up the protest", and was launched by the Twitter profile of anti-corruption project Municipal Scanner on 27 July. The website itself does not mention the "deanonymisation" move....
Leviev, who has stressed that he has no ties to Municipal Scanner, suggested that the online tools being used are FindClone, which allows users to upload a face and have it matched with the photos of users of Russian social media network VKontakte, and the reverse image search function of Russian search engine Yandex. The latter then allows the faces to be linked to active VKontakte accounts.
So far, most policemen being identified are those involved in the dispersal of the 27 July protests in Moscow. But a matter of days after the August 4 protests, photos from that event started surfacing online, among them Serhiy Kusyuk, a Ukrainian police officer who commanded the Berkut riot police on 30 November 2013, when the unit attacked protesters on Kyivs Maidan. After the revolution of 2014, Kusyuk fled to Russia alongside several other functionaries of the ousted government of president President Viktor Yanukovych. Kusyuk is currently wanted by the Ukrainian authorities.