Face recognition – not on campus

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Debates about returning to personal school in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic are consuming education administrators worldwide deciding which technologies best meet public health, education and privacy needs.

One of the concerns is facial recognition, which can be used to monitor student presence and behavior, as well as contact tracing.

In the days leading up to COVID-19, the use of facial recognition in the US was seen as a potential panacea to aid in security measures after school shootings. Schools have also started tracking students and automating attendance records.

However, a recent study claims that facial recognition technology should be banned for use in schools because of the increased risk of racism and the potential for privacy erosion.

Researchers at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Science, Technology, and Public Policy (STPP) program found that not only is the technology unsuitable for security purposes, but it also creates a web of serious problems beyond racial discrimination, including the normalization of surveillance and undermining privacy, institutionalizing inaccuracies and creating false data on school life, commodifying data and marginalizing faulty students.

“Research shows that deploying the technology prematurely without understanding its implications would be unethical and dangerous.”

The study used an analog case comparison methodology that specifically looked at previous applications of security technologies such as CCTV cameras and metal detectors, as well as biometric technologies, to anticipate the impact of facial recognition.

There are currently no national laws regulating facial recognition technology in the world. Looking at technologies already in place can help predict the potential social, economic and political impacts and uncover the unintended consequences, ”said the homelandsecuritynewswire.com researchers quoted above.

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