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  • The group published a list of 100 top colleges in the U.S. that compromised to forbid facial recognition on campus.

    The group published a list of 100 top colleges in the U.S. that compromised to forbid facial recognition on campus. | Photo: @fightfortheftr

Published 13 February 2020
Opinion

This groups urge academic institutions to reject sales pitches from technology companies that insist facial recognition technology makes campuses safer.

Over 40 rights organizations in the United States joined Fight for the Future (FFTF) to warn university students about the use of facial recognition technology puts not only privacy rights at risk but also racial justice and migrants' rights, Common Dreams reported Thursday.

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These groups - including ACLU, the National Immigration Law Center, and the National Center for Transgender Equality - urge academic institutions to reject sales pitches from technology companies that insist facial recognition technology makes campuses safer. 

In a letter released by the FFTF, they called it “biased” and insisted that facial recognition is “invasive, enabling anyone with access to the system to watch students' movements and analyze facial expressions, as well as monitor who they talk to, what they do outside of class, and every move they make."

The group published a list of 100 top colleges in the U.S. that compromised to forbid facial recognition on campus like Columbia University, Boston College, and Kent State University. However, other colleges like Tufts University and UCLA both have plans to introduce the technology, and Stanford and the University of Southern California are currently using it.

"Just imagine you're in college—exploring new ideas, meeting new people, going to parties, dating, attending rallies. Now imagine doing all of that while under constant surveillance, not knowing who is watching you, what's happening to your biometric data, or what the implications of that may be," Deputy Director of FFTF Evan Greer alerted.

Last month it was reported that a company called FaceFirst is marketing "monitoring packages" to schools that are already experimenting with facial recognition technology that is being deployed not to keep schools secure but to punish students.

Such companies are "aggressively marketing their tech to colleges and claiming that facial recognition can increase campus safety, streamline attendance, and even measure whether students are paying attention. But the truth is there is no justifiable reason to use it," Greer denounced.

The FFTF also called on college students to loudly oppose the use of the technology at their schools through social media. "With facial recognition, your administration could track everywhere you go on campus—who you hang out with, what you believe, where you party, who you hook up with. They could even grade you based on what your face looks like and then store that info forever," the group warned.

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