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NtechLab Founders Resign Citing Concerns Over Company Projects in Russia

The co-founders of NtechLab, an artificial intelligence company, have stated that they resigned over disagreements with management and investors regarding projects in Russia. One founder left in December 2021, while the other departed in March 2022, after Russia invaded Ukraine. The announcement came after Reuters published a report about how Russian law enforcement uses facial recognition to identify and detain protesters and opposition activists, with Moscow’s facial recognition system powered by NtechLab’s FindFace algorithm. The founders, Artem Kukharenko and Alexander Kabakov, said they wanted NtechLab to stop all work in Russia and move all Russia-based employees, while management wanted to continue operating in Russia. Kukharenko said, “Most shareholders supported management, so we had no other option than to resign from the company.” NtechLab did not respond to a request for comment.

The co-founders stated that discussions about ending all projects in Russia began after opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned in August 2020. Kukharenko, who was head of research at NtechLab, said, “It became clear that the country is moving towards a disaster, although no one could have imagined that the country would start a war.” The two founders declined to provide further information on the disagreement or why they wanted to end NtechLab’s work in Russia. They also stated that they both signed an anti-war petition after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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