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Facial Recognition Technology In Schools – Protective or Invasive?

Wired, July 17,2018:  Over the past two years, RealNetworks has developed a facial recognition tool that it hopes will help schools more accurately monitor who gets past their front doors. Today, the company launched a website where school administrators can download the tool, called SAFR, for free and integrate it with their own camera systems. So far, one school in Seattle is testing the tool and the state of Wyoming is designing a pilot program that could launch later this year.

On its face, this type of facial recognition technology appears to be a significantly helpful tool in monitoring unwanted visitors in our childrens’ schools but there are privacy and technology defect issues that need to be addressed as well.

One group in particular, the Electronic Frontier Foundation published a white paper outlining how facial recognition technology often misidentifies black people and women at a much higher rate than white males.  (Let’s stay away from any racial debate and stick to the tech flaws that are currently embedded in the software that obviously needs major tweaking.)  Amazon employees are strongly protesting the use of its FR product,, Rekognition for law enforcement purposes.  Last week, Microsoft President Brad Smith called for federal regulation of facial recognition technology, writing, “This technology can catalog your photos, help reunite families or potentially be misused and abused by private companies and public authorities alike.”

Every parent or guardian of a child should have the knowledge that their children are secure in their schools but at what cost? Children are as entitled to privacy as are adults.  And, will the technology simply search for unwelcome visitors or closely monitor targeted children?

Our stance is that this technology needs to be refined so as to not misidentify children and its use regulated to maintaining a safe environment against intruding elements – not to track children.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

 

As always, stay safe.

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