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The Delicate Ethics of Using Facial Recognition in Schools

Wired published an article on the growing use of facial recognition software in schools and its potential implications. Find it here.

The use of facial recognition software in schools has proved both useful and contentious. Following school shootings, many districts across the country have employed the use of facial recognition systems from such companies as AnyVision and RealNetworks. In these systems, cameras placed around campuses (often at entrances or at places where special events like graduation occur) identify those who cross its path and check it by a list of people of interest, such as suspended students now at a district’s disciplinary school, people that have had conflict with someone at the school, or local sex offenders.

While the software has been successfully implemented, it has received some pushback. Namely, some parents raised concern with the constant tracking and surveillance of children, while others have noted that the accuracy of facial recognition software on darker skin tones may be troubling for lists of suspended people that are disproportionately black. The use of this software is an example of the measures taken in response to school shootings across the nation, and it is important to consider both the potential benefits and risks of using such systems.


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