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Facial Recognition in Schools:
Pros and Cons

Facial recognition is a technology that uses statistical measurements of people's facial features to digitally identify them in photos, videos or real time. In many airports of the United States facial recognition technology is used to screen passengers on international flights. In Florida the police use this technology to identify suspects by searching a database of images. But is it a good idea to use facial recognition in schools? Will it be helpful for the student's safety or will it infringe the student's privacy?

The debate is open. There are parents who think that this technology is unsafe because it's a clear violation of their child's privacy. For example, the US citizen Jim Shultz tried to stop facial recognition technology from entering the public high school where his daughter was enrolled. He stated in an Op-Ed in the New York Times that the district turned their kids into lab rats in a high-tech experiment in privacy invasion. On the other hand, there are people who think that this technology could prevent violent crimes, such as mass shootings in schools, or it could stop sexual predators. This technology could also save people from their stalkers. For example, the singer Taylor Swift said that she was able to identify her stalker using facial recognition technology.

In the end there is still concern about this technology. Critics of the system point to the growing evidence of racial bias in facial recognition systems. An American study was released last December to show how the system falsely identifies African American and Asian faces 10 to 100 times more than Caucasian faces.

Considering all these elements it could be too risky to use facial recognition technology in public schools. The consequences could be dangerous, because when we talk about schools we are dealing mostly with children. If the system is wrong about a possible suspect, it could ruin his or her career in school and future. What's more it is important to remember that some facial recognition systems could automatically alert the police. So maybe it is just too early to introduce this technology in schools, maybe it just needs improvement or a more accurate analysis of how the system should properly work. Until now students should be free to enter in schools.

Bianca Damato

[2.4.2020 - 17:44]

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