ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Starting today, all schools within New York State are prohibited from buying or using facial recognition technology. News10 went through the report that the Board of Education based its findings on and found that the concerns revolved around the difference between safety and privacy.
According to New York State Education Department Commissioner Betty A. Rosa, the report on the technology:
“…identifies serious concerns regarding the use of facial recognition technology in schools, including a higher rate of false positives for people of color, nonbinary and transgender people, women, the elderly, and children, as well as the ability of schools to use such technology without parental consent.”
In 2020, civil rights advocates wanted to stop the Lockport School District in Western New York from using the technology and claiming that it infringed on student privacy.
The school district stopped using the $1.4 million system later that year.
Lockport officials implemented the technology to help enable security officers to detect and respond to sex offenders, any weapons, or even disgruntled employees.
While New York schools won’t be using the technology, across the country, more schools have been using AI-driven metal detectors. Students walk through at a normal pace but are pulled aside if the advanced sensors note a threat.
In North Carolina, one district using this for over a year says it has been deterring students from bringing weapons.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools District reported there were 31 guns found on their campuses during the 2021-22 school year, but last year – the first full year with the AI technology – that number dropped to seven.
For now, all public and nonpublic elementary, secondary, and charter schools are not allowed to purchase or utilize facial recognition technology for any purpose other than fingerprint identification of prospective school employees or to identify employees exclusively.