Monday, June 24, 2019

This week my daughter’s school became the first in the nation to pilot facial-recognition software. The technology’s potential is chilling.

LOCKPORT, N.Y. — I have a 16-year-old daughter, and like every parent in the United States today, I worry about her safety when she’s in school. But here in Western New York’s Lockport City School District, those fears have led to a wasteful and dangerous experiment.
This week the district’s eight public schools began testing a system called Aegis, which includes facial recognition technology, that could eventually be used to track and map student movements in our schools. How that happened is a cautionary tale for other schools across the country.
In 2015, in the wake of Sandy Hook and other high-profile school shootings, our district was approached by Tony Olivo, a security consultant, who offered to do a free threat assessment of our schools. Later, he encouraged the school district to purchase and install a high-tech facial-recognition camera system developed by SN Technologies, a Canadian company whose sole surveillance experience was in the casino industry. But the software cost a fortune — $1.4 million for a district of a little over 4,400 students and an annual budget of just over $100 million.
Mr. Olivo identified a funding source the district could use to make the purchase — using money Lockport was set to receive for technology education under a 2014 Smart Schools Bond Act. Far from being an independent expert, however, he also stood to benefit financially from the deal. A proposed licensing agreement the school district was forced to disclose showed that Mr. Olivo’s company, CSI Risk Management, was negotiating a payment of $95,450 annually for five years. Neither he nor the school district would disclose what he was eventually paid...

1 comment:

  1. "Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards." -Aldous Huxley


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