NYCLU slams approval for school facial system
08 January 2020 12:56 GMT

New York Civil Liberties Union has asked the state's Education Department to cancel its approval of a biometric surveillance system for a Western New York school district

NYCLU has argued that the district has not addressed questions raised by its own experts on potential risks to student privacy, reported Times Union.

Beginning this month, the Lockport School District, near the Canadian border, will become one of the first school systems in the country to try out facial recognition software. The district will use Aegis software, created by a Canadian-based company, to alert district officials if someone on a flagged list of individuals showed up at one of the district's eight schools. The software can also detect ten different types of guns.   

The New York branch of the civil liberties union, in a letter to state education officials, wrote that the approval was premature.

"NYSED should not allow Lockport’s students, teachers, and community members to be test subjects for inaccurate and invasive technology," wrote Stefanie D. Coyle, deputy director at the group's Education Policy Center.

In a blog post, the Civil Liberties Union argued that, "children as young as 5-years-old will have their faces scanned wherever they go. Their images will be captured by a system that is error-prone, discriminatory, and puts students' safety at risk."