New York Bans Facial Recognition Testing In Schools

After announcing that they were testing a $1.4 million security system with facial recognition, the New York State Education Department has banned the Lockport City School District from using or testing facial recognition. Michele T. Bradley, the district’s superintendent, said that the Education Department had concerns about student privacy which had previously delayed testing in late May, according to an article from The Buffalo News.

Related: The Best Indoor Security Cameras for Artificial Intelligence

Kevin Freiberger, Director of Identity Programs at Valid, spoke to Security Baron regarding best practices for usage of facial recognition technology in the public sector, schools in particular. The majority of the time, schools want this technology to use for time and attendance as well as access into the school buildings themselves. Valid, which provides identity solutions such as drivers licenses and IDs for state and local governments, also manufactures its own facial recognition technology. Their storage separates the biometric data from any identifiable information, and there is no way to reverse-engineer binary code to re-create a photograph, Freiberger says. He continues,

“If the biometric databases get compromised, nothing is identifiable. This is a best practice for all facial recognition technology, especially used in the public sector.”

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Facial Recognition in Schools

Freiberger believes that Lockport City School district stopped testing of facial recognition technology primarily because of “perception and politics”. People may not trust that their vendor is going to handle the data safely, and facial recognition has gotten a lot of bad press recently, he said. “It’s not a popular technology right now,” Freiberger told Security Baron.

Amazon and Facial Recognition

Last winter, Amazon patented facial recognition technology that is meant to create a neighborhood network of suspicious persons, comparing subjects to criminal or “most wanted” databases. Using footage from their security cameras and video doorbells, users could flag suspicious persons and upload them into the network, receiving alerts about them regardless of whether they’re in the criminal database or not. Amazon and other large companies like Google and Microsoft have made facial recognition technology more affordable, which is already leading to more widespread usage.

Aliza Vigderman

Aliza Vigderman

Aliza is a journalist living in Brooklyn, New York. Throughout her career, her work has spanned many intersections within the tech industry. At SquareFoot, a New York-based real estate technology company, she wrote about the ways in which technology has changed the real estate industry, as well as the challenges that business owners face when they want to invest in property. At Degreed.com, an education technology website, Aliza created digital content for lifelong learners, exploring the ways in which technology has democratized education. Additionally, she has written articles for The Huffington Post as well as her own content on Medium, the online publishing platform. Aliza’s love of journalism and research stems from the excellent Journalism program at Brandeis University. At Brandeis, Aliza interned as a research assistant at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit “news room without walls”. There, Aliza was paired with an investigative journalist and used academic databases to obtain data on everything from the suicide rates in Bhutan to local Boston court cases. Her last position was as an account executive at Yelp, educating business owners on the power of technology to increase revenue. Throughout, however, her heart remained with tech journalism, and she’s thrilled to be writing for Security Baron. When she’s not keeping afloat of the latest tech trends, Aliza likes to cook, read, and write. A former high school “Class Clown,” Aliza has completed two feature-length screenplays, a pilot, and countless comedic sketches. On her days off you can find her relaxing in Prospect Park, trying the latest flavors at Ample Hills Ice Cream, and spending time with friends and family.

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