12 January 2012, 15:07

Internet cameras to watch presidential elections

Internet cameras to watch presidential elections

Russia’s Central Election Commission is installing web-cameras and computers at all polling stations across the country in a bid to ensure video surveillance at presidential elections to be held on the 4th of March, 2012.

Russia’s Central Election Commission is installing web-cameras and computers at all polling stations across the country in a bid to ensure video surveillance at presidential elections to be held on the 4th of March, 2012.

It was Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin who proposed to use cameras to fight against possible falsifications at elections in a response to a wave of protests that followed the December parliamentary elections.

The Ministry of Communications responsible for equipping polling stations with cameras says that right now its representatives are choosing, testing and buying the necessary equipment. The Ministry is expected to spend a total of 12 billion rubles.

Each polling station will be equipped with two cameras and a computer. The pictures will be transmitted from each camera to a dedicated Internet site which can be found through a hyperlink from the Central Elections Commission web site. A total of 200 thousand cameras and 100 thousand computers will be needed for this task. The national telecommunications company Rostelecom will be in charge of installing cameras at the polling stations. The equipment will be tested as early as the 15th of February.

According to the document approved by the Central Elections Committee on Wednesday, cameras will be on from 8 am to 8 pm. One of two cameras will be installed to show the room as a whole, another one – ballot boxes and containers for unused ballots. It will be prohibited to carry out video surveillance inside polling booths.

Internet users worry that the Russian Internet will crash under load. Ekaterina Aksenova, CEO of Strateg agency, dispels these fears.

"Millions of videos are posted, broadcast and watched online. This has almost no impact on the existing infrastructure. On the elections day there will be nothing special. Channels should be all right."

The Ministry of Communications also believes that the load will increase by 15-20 percent that will lead to the lagging of some websites at the very worst.

Video footage will be preserved in regional centers for a year after the elections results are officially published. Access to them will be unrestricted. The Ministry stressed that this project by Mr. Putin is unparalleled in the world.        

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