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Moscow Mayor’s Office may close pedestrian data collection project due to problems with tracking mobile devices


Moscow authorities may close a project to track pedestrian activity worth more than 150 million rubles. A source in the mayor’s office who is familiar with the implementation of the project told Kommersant about this. The reason was the update of the iOS and Android operating systems, which made it difficult to track devices.

Official site of the Mayor of Moscow

Official website of the Mayor of Moscow

The tracking project became known in October 2020. The authorities wanted to create a network of hardware and software complexes (AIC) that were supposed to track pedestrian activity by MAC addresses of mobile devices. They wanted to install them at stops and pedestrian navigation steles. The authorities said it would help improve the public transport system. According to them, similar practices are used in Singapore, London and Berlin.

According to the newspaper, the contractor completed the first stage of work on December 24 – the company installed and supplied all the agro-industrial complex, for which it received 62.8 million rubles.

Experts say that purchased AICs may be completely useless due to operating system updates. In September 2020, Android 11 and iOS 14 were released, in which the developers added a dynamic MAC address change function. Thus, the Moscow authorities entered into a contract after the updates were released, which made the agro-industrial complex meaningless.

The head of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy, Information Technology and Communications, Alexander Khinshtein, said that the conclusion of a contract after the release of a critical update may become a reason for an audit. He said that if the creators of the tender knew in advance that the technology would become obsolete, their actions caused direct damage to the budget.

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