California school district cancels facial recognition plan
16 July 2015 15:21 GMT

A California school has dropped plans to add facial recognition as an added level of security to student’s tablets, citing incompatibility issues.

Encinitas school district Superintendent Tim Baird said the plan has been was cancelled because the technology didn’t work with all iPad programs.

In March, the district board signed a a $63,000 deal with Virtual Keyring, which was tasked with developing software so that students could log in to all their iPad programs via biometrics or a single keyed-in password.

However, in May parent Jennifer Hamler raised a petition against the plan citing privacy concerns. “This programme will be scanning our children's face every 60 seconds,” complained Hamler. “Collecting biometrics on children is forever.  Facial biometrics is the same as a fingerprint or eye scan.”

The Virtual Keyring solution works by taking several pictures and comparing those with an encrypted image on file. The software continuously monitors to make sure it’s the same person and automatically logs out if authentication fails.

Superintendent EUSD Superintendent, Timothy Baird, Ed.D, had stressed that the goals of the project were to provide single sign-on capability as well as added protection of student data, and that facial recognition would be an optional feature that parents could opt into in lieu of a password. 

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