The Current

U.S. schools turn to facial recognition technology to help stop gun attacks

U.S. schools are adopting facial recognition technology as a way of keeping students safe, but there are concerns about privacy, particularly as the technology becomes more widespread.

Technology criticized as being less accurate with people with darker skin and women

A facial recognition system being demonstrated at the NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference in Washington DC, Nov. 1, 2017. The technology is becoming more widespread, prompting privacy concerns. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
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As the spate of school shootings in the U.S. continues, institutions are debating whether facial recognition technology could be used to stop potentially dangerous people trying to get into the building.

There are questions over the technology's effectiveness, however, as well as what it means for the privacy of students and teachers.

To discuss the issue, The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti was joined by:

  • Michael England, president of St. Mary's High School, in St. Louis, Mo. His school adopted the technology four years ago as another layer of security and a proactive way of keeping students safe, he said.
  • Jonathan Frankle, who researches artificial intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There are limitations to the technology, he said, which is often less accurate on people with darker skin and women.
  • Rachel Levinson-Waldman, who serves as senior counsel to the Brennan Center's Liberty and National Security program. She raised privacy concerns about the technology becoming more widespread, adding that it could create a database of your movements that could be accesed without your consent.

Listen to the full conversation at the top of this page.


This segment was produced by The Current's Howard Goldenthal and Kristian Jebsen.

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