Schools in the district of Lockport, New York, are closer to being allowed to use facial recognition technology to monitor persons on school property after the New York State Education Department outlined four additional steps required in order for permission to be granted.
In a statement to local news outlet 2WGRZ, an official said that the school district is going to review the additional requests being made by the state, and that administrators are looking forward to ensuring that the technology will enhance safety for everyone.
“We have to balance protecting those individuals and their privacy with their security and so I think that it’s a good thing we’re being diligent in that review and making sure that we’re doing all the right things,” said Michael McCartney, the president of Avalon Cyber.
The decision to pursue the use of biometric facial recognition technology in schools in Lockport dates back to September of 2018, when — prompted by an outcry from the New York Civil Liberties Union — the school district and the State Education Department began looking at ways to iron out the protocols to allow the use of the technology on school ground.
Though concerns over privacy and the use of any data that may be collected by the proposed security system remain, proponents argue that the benefits far outweigh any potential costs.
In a statement to 2WGRZ, former FBI agent and the founder and CEO of GlobalSecurityIQ Holly Hubert said “the technology can be programmed that once a weapon is detected, to dial 911, make a law enforcement alert, and then you have a response so you know a weapon is in the school,” adding, “It’s incredible.”
Hubert also disputes whether the system will pose any threat of a data leak. “It’s my understanding that this particular technology is closed and that it has no internet connectivity,” she said.
The latest guidelines proposed by the State Education Department have yet to be made public, however in September the district accepted the state’s condition that the system may not be used on suspended students and only to guard against registered sex offenders and other persons deemed credible threats.
December 2, 2019 – by Tony Bitzionis