In schools in the UK, facial recognition cameras are now installed in canteens

In schools in the UK, facial recognition cameras are now installed in canteens ...

Some students in the UK are now able to pay for their lunch in school canteen using their only faces. Nine North Ayrshire schools in Scotland have begun accepting payments using biometric information obtained from facial recognition systems, according to the Financial Times.

CRB Cunningham has installed a system that scans students' faces and compares them to encrypted faceprint templates stored on servers in the schools. It's being introduced to replace fingerprint scanning and card payments, which have been deemed less safe since the COVID-19 outbreak.

The technology is also being used to reduce lunch time delays. David Swanston, CRB's managing director, told the FT that the system reduced the average transaction time per pupil to just five seconds.

"Our catering system contracts are coming to a close and we have the opportunity to install IT infrastructure which makes our service more efficient and enhances the pupil experience by utilizing innovative technology," said spokesman for North Ayrshire Council. "Facial Recognition has been deemed to be the most suitable solution that will meet all of our needs."

There is a global debate about the ethics of using facial recognition technology -- particularly live facial detection -- and whether it is in conflict with our civil liberties. The use of facial recognition technology in schools in Maine was earlier this year banned. It's up to individual schools to make decisions about how to use biometric technology in the UK, which does not have any such laws in place.

North Ayrshire Council announced the facial recognition technology in a blog post published in August, urging parents to check their phones for details on how to register. "Exciting changes are coming soon for how parents and carers pay for school purchases," it stated.

Around 97 percent of parents have indicated that they wish their children to be scanned by the system in accordance with GDPR guidelines, and older children have been allowed to do so.

The UK's biometrics commissioner, Fraser Sampson, stated that simply because schools have access to the technology doesn't necessarily mean they should necessarily utilize it. "If there is a less intrusive method, that should be used," he said.

CRB Cunningham didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

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