Speed Reads

salt in the wound

Ukraine uses facial recognition to send photos of dead Russian soldiers to their families

Ukraine's IT Army, a government-directed force of volunteer hackers, is using facial recognition technology to identify dead Russian soldiers and send photos of the corpses to their families, The Washington Post reported Friday.

In a Telegram video reminiscent of those produced by the hacker group Anonymous, IT Army explained the process. "As a dead body is found and a photo of its [sic] made, AI will look for the accounts in social media as well as the accounts of a friend, relative, if there are joint photos in internet. Next, we notify a beloved one about the death of a soldier and attach a photo of the body. As of now, we have managed to identify 582 abandoned corpses and inform relatives," the English subtitles read.

IT Army also accused the Russian military of "leaving their dead comrades on the battlefield to rot." The distorted voice narrating the video goes on to claim that Russia's "first Chechen war was stopped by Russian mothers" and implores Russians to "[s]top killing your children now."

Writing for The Week last month, Jason Fields noted that the First Chechen War, fought between 1994 and 1996, was "hugely unpopular" in Russia and exposed the weakness of Russia's post-Soviet military.

The facial recognition technology — and training on how to use it — has been provided to Ukraine free of charge by Clearview AI CEO Hoan Ton-That. According to The New York Times, Ukrainian officials have previously used the technology to verify the identity of Russian prisoners of war and to search for potential saboteurs.