Michigan University study recommends banning use of facial recognition tools in schools

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University of Michigan study finds the use of facial recognition technology in schools invades privacy, promotes racial discrimination;  recommends a total ban

Many schools use facial recognition technology for keeping an eye on students as well as preventing outsiders from entering the school premises. However, a new study by the University of Michigan researchers finds that using facial recognition technology schools is bad.

The research team led by Shobita Parthasarathy found that the security aspect of the facial recognition technology is flawed and presents many other problems. The study found that the facial recognition technology actually invades the students’ privacy and promotes racial discrimination. The report adds that the tech also normalizes surveillance while institutionalizing inaccuracy and marginalizing non-conforming students.

The study was conducted at the behest of the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy and comes in a time when there is a general anti-facial recognition tech feeling among Americans. There are growing instances of states banning the use of facial recognition tech by law enforcement agencies. Tech companies like Amazon, Microsoft, etc. have already announced that they will not deliver facial recognition tech to the U.S. law enforcement agencies until there is a regulation in place. IBM has gone further and said that it will never venture into the facial recognition technology business.

The study which is titled, “Cameras in the Classroom,” states that facial recognition tech is not accurate and should be banned from schools. “We have focused on facial recognition in schools because it is not yet widespread and because it will impact particularly vulnerable populations. The research shows that prematurely deploying the technology without understanding its implications would be unethical and dangerous,” said Parthasarathy.

Though the study recommends a complete ban on the technology’s use, it concludes with a set of 15 policy recommendations for those at the national, state and school district levels who may be considering using it, as well as a set of sample questions for stakeholders, such as parents and students, to consider as they evaluate its use.

You can read the research paper titled Cameras in the Classroom here.

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