Russian art project both highlights and illustrates big data issues


In 2016, 21-year-old Russian photographer Egor Tsvetkov launched the "Your Face is Big Data" project. He created the project by semi-secretly photographing passengers seated across from him on the St. Petersburg metro, then uploading the images to an online service called FindFace. FindFace's service, which is intended to facilitate checking out potential dates met through online sites, takes uploaded random photographs and searches for matches on Russia's most popular social network, Vkontakte; it was able to identify 70% of Tsvetkov's subjects. Tsvetkov has said his intention was to explore how the internet has broken the state's monopoly on identifying individuals through photos and videos. However, Tsvetkov did not request permission to take or publish the photos or obscure the identities of his subjects.

Writer: Kevin Rothrock

Publication: Global Voices

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