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Will the introduction of facial recognition in UK schools normalise biometric surveillance?

Scanning the faces of pupils in school canteens is proof that facial recognition tech has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years.

Facial recognition will now be used to verify school children’s meal payments in nine schools in the United Kingdom, according to a report in The Verge. The schools, based in North Ayrshire in Scotland, reasoned that technology is faster and more COVID-secure than using cards or fingerprint scanners for payments, the report added. An FAQ page from the website of the North Ayrshire government explains that the move is not compulsory and parents can use PIN alternatively for verification. They were also informed that the data of their kid will be deleted when they leave the school. It also explains to readers that the data will be stored in an “encrypted (using AES 256) string of characters known as a template”. North Ayrshire council informed Financial Times that 97 percent of children or their parents had given consent for the new system. FT added that some parents were unsure whether their children had enough information to make a decision and insinuated that peer pressure might have played a role. Pilots of the system began in 2020 and 65 more schools have signed up for the programme, revealed David Swanston of CRB Cunninghams - the firm behind the FRT systems.  Facial recognition technology has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, giving rise to concerns on privacy and misuse of sensitive data. The move may end up normalising biometric surveillance at a time when data security is meagre in most countries where privacy laws are still in the making.    Intervention by ICO The Information…

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I cover several beats such as Crypto, Telecom, and OTT at MediaNama. I can be found loitering at my local theatre when I am off work consuming movies by the dozen.

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