March 10, 2022

Online Sleuths Are Using Face Recognition to ID Russian Soldiers

Source: Wired

Journalist: Tom Simonite

Chechnya’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov posted a short video on Telegram, in which a cheery bearded soldier stood before a line of tanks clanking down a road under an overcast sky. In an accompanying post, Kadyrov assured Ukrainians that the Russian army doesn’t hurt civilians and that Vladimir Putin wants their country to determine its own fate.

In France, the CEO of a law enforcement and military training company called Tactical Systems took a screenshot of the soldier’s face and got to work. Within about an hour, using face recognition services available to anyone online, he identified that the soldier was likely Hussein Mezhidov, a Chechen commander close to Kadyrov involved in Russia’s assault on Ukraine, and found his Instagram account.


If distant volunteers can identify combatants using face recognition, government agencies can do the same or much more. “I’m sure there are Russian analysts tracking Twitter and TikTok with access to similar if not more powerful technology who are not sharing what or who they find so openly,” says Ryan Fedasiuk, an adjunct fellow at the Center for a New American Security.

Read the full story and more from Wired.


  • Ryan Fedasiuk

    Adjunct Fellow, Technology and National Security Program

    Ryan Fedasiuk is an Adjunct Fellow (on leave) at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). He currently serves as a China Technology Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department...