New York Senate and Assembly pass the Biometric Surveillance in Schools Moratorium, protecting the privacy and safety of students, teachers, staff, and parents. Now we call on Governor Cuomo to sign the legislation into law, and for other states to similarly protect schools from this invasive tech.
After years of work, both bodies of the New York legislature passed the Biometric Surveillance in Schools Moratorium. The bill, which passed the Assembly on Tuesday and the Senate on Wednesday, would prohibit schools from using facial recognition technology.
"Children should not be used as guinea pigs to test technology that strips away their privacy with unknown psychological impacts ," said Caitlin Seeley George (she/her), Campaign Director at Fight for the Future. "Facial recognition should be banned everywhere, including in schools where we should be especially aware of how it will harm kids. A tool that disproportionately impacts people of color and augments the school-to-prison pipeline, while collecting data that’s vulnerable to hackers, has no place in schools."
This news comes the same week that a school in Kansas announced it is using facial recognition as a part of its plan to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic. The system will upload photos of staff and use them to take and track temperatures before they’re allowed to enter the building.
"Facial recognition companies will use any angle they can to market their product to schools—but this one is just absolutely ridiculous," Seeley George added. "Facial recognition will not stop the spread of COVID-19, and schools shouldn’t buy into this hokum. No staff or student should be required to give up their biometric data, private health information, or their right to privacy to a surveillance system that could expose them to bad actors and abuse, such as hacking and stalking. We need to keep schools closed until health experts agree they can reopen, ensure everyone can get online, and provide support so people can stay home to actually stop the spread of COVID-19."