Based on a report from www.thepaper.cn on April 13, titled “Critics of Installation of Facial Recognition Technology System in Elementary School: Parent’s written permission and confirmation is necessary”, it questioned the use of school-based facial recognition. Parents concerned about the potential risks related to children’s privacy and personal data.
A security expert believed that the school should provided clarity on how the authority would collect digital data, how the data is stored, how to process data, and even how to delete data. The school can deploy the technology with students’ parents consenting.
A law professor recommended caution on applications of artificial intelligence in education. He also urged that the school should ask for parents’ consent before bringing facial recognition technology into school.
A spokesman from the education department claimed that facial recognition system aimed at advancing school security measure. The implementation was at a preparatory stage and it would eventually ask for consent from parents. The reporter interviewed several parents regarding this issue. It showed that these parents only received request for submitting their children’s pictures to school but they did not receive any further written parental consent statement regarding the use of facial recognition system.
Source: Article on www.thepapaer.cn
It is well known that the Chinese government has already built the world’s largest CCTV surveillance system for public. It is estimated that the number of surveillance closed-circuit TV (CCTV) cameras in China is reaching to 626 millions in 2020 according to Wikipedia. It represents nearly one camera for every two people in China. The CCP also use latest artificial intelligence (A.I.) powered facial recognition technology. Massive surveillance CCTV with facial recognition technologies have been installed and operated in most public venues in China. Under the CPP’s propaganda, the use of facial recognition surveillance technology can protect people from crime.
Besides public venues, facial recognition technology is becoming endemic in school setting with promises to strengthen school safety. Nevertheless, concerns regarding the over-reach facial recognition technologies are daunting. With the existing forms of monitoring and disciplinary practices, a new normalization of surveillance is introduced in the name of protecting students. It raises a number of potential harms that the higher level of oppressive authoritarian surveillance is enforced in schools.
While facial recognition technology can computationally extract facial features and capture on digital footprints of individuals, all digitalized biometric information would be stored permanently. Children’s biometric data becomes so vulnerable in school settings. Furthermore, the capacity of verification of biometric identities would also create psychographic data that can measure and screen facial micro-expressions. It is a powerful form of facial detection technology that can analyze facial expressions in order to assume individual’s mood and emotions. Although the CCP’s education system officials defend facial recognition technology is beneficial for children’s safety in schools, the technology commentators worry about the potential risks of it. Also, stakeholders, such as parents and staff, should be advised the transparency of data and algorithm used by technology.
Due to China’s lack of digital rights or data protection regulations, the CCP can leverage, collect, and store personal data largely. Forthcoming threat of data accessibility, breach and mishandling become troubling because facial recognition algorithms can stigmatize children. In addition, if one local elementary school started to deploy the technology, the rest will then follow under the name of campus safety. Officials in school are supposed to be responsible for protecting of students’ biometric data rather than surrendering them permanently. Young people would be easily targeted to surrender their biometric data, such as fingerprints or faces, without their knowledge. But the CCP’s totalitarian officials would roll out the facial recognition surveillance system in schools even without parental consents.
In short, the implementation of facial recognition technology would normalize the notorious mass surveillance on children. Children placed under constant self-censorship and surveillance under the CCP’s dictatorship regime is being watched and controlled in “safe-places” like schools. It not only gives school authorities to identify and track individuals on campus, it also desensitize children to surveillance measures at such early stages of human development. The CCP’s authoritarian school systems offer little clarity on how the technology works or protect children from breaching privacy. The widespread implementation of facial recognition technology is threatening because the CCP’s tyrannical education system is matching forward to the next level of digital exploitation on our children.
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