Controversial facial recognition software in Lockport schools almost passes the eye test

Lockport High School threat

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) — The chief privacy officer from the New York State Department of Education has informed the Lockport City School District that it is nearly ready to proceed with once-controversial software, provided a couple major tweaks are made with the policy.

The letter from Temitope Akinyemi to the superintendent concerns the AEGIS security software, which can use facial recognition to detect anyone deemed as a threat in any of the school buildings, such as unauthorized staff or sex offenders.

In September, the district stated that photos of suspended students would not be included in the system, which has been discussed since 2016.

The state education department letter pointed out that a section of the policy referencing that information collected could be used for disciplinary purposes or shared with police must make clear that that doesn’t apply to students. The policy also must be amended to make it clear that no student should be placed in the database.

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