The FT broke news
at the weekend that facial recognition was being tested in a few Scottish schools as a way of taking payments to speed up lunch queues. The move has not proved popular.
As the Guardian reports:
The Information Commissioner’s Office is to intervene over concerns about the use of facial recognition technology on pupils queueing for lunch in school canteens in the UK.
The ICO, an independent body set up to uphold information rights in the UK, said it would be contacting North Ayrshire council about the move and urged a “less intrusive” approach where possible…
The director of Big Brother Watch
, told the news outlet: “This is highly sensitive, personal data that children should be taught to protect, not to give away on a whim. This biometrics company has refused to disclose who else children’s personal information could be shared with and there are some red flags here for us.”
It certainly sounds like there are some data protection concerns here, but we should be wary of rejecting all facial recognition technology regardless of its implementation, even when children are involved.
As anyone who has used Apple’s FaceID or Microsoft’s Windows Hello will know, facial recognition can be a huge boost to efficiency and convenience. Yes, it can be used poorly, but our reaction to stories like this—even when they involve children—should be ‘is this tech being implemented responsibly?’, rather than ‘eww, facial recognition, kill it with fire’.