Facial Recognition

Ban Facial Recognition on College Campuses, Activists Say

"Facial recognition represents a dystopic advancement of the police state."

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A campaign to ban facial recognition on college campuses has just been launched by the non-profit organizations Fight for the Future and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. Facial recognition technology is already being deployed in some public school systems, so the organizers want to get ahead of the spread of pervasive surveillance to higher education.

Vendors like FaceFirst and Ellucian are already offering biometric surveillance technologies to college administrators.

"Facial recognition systems are a great alternative to plastic cards, password systems, attendance registers, and manual processes, and the technology represents an upgrade to secure systems access from mobile devices," explains Raja Saravanan, head of software architecture at Ellucian, in his pitch to colleges. He cheerfully adds that facial recognition software can be configured to check class attendance while also monitoring students' nonverbal reactions in real-time as they listen to lectures.

With regard to enhancing campus security, Saravanan noted, "Recently, one of the top universities in China, Beijing Normal University, implemented a facial recognition system to prevent intruders entering student dorms." That example is not especially reassuring considering that China's authoritarian government is deploying hundreds of millions of cameras hooked to facial recognition as a mainstay of its social credit surveillance state.

In order to "foster a culture of trust around facial tracking," Saravanan recommends that campus facial recognition be rolled out incrementally and acknowledges that "students and faculty may want the ability to opt out." He adds, "It's important to design an experience that doesn't convey a culture of surveillance." Of course, pervasive tracking of where, when, and with whom students and faculty interact even to the point of monitoring their facial expressions to determine their moment-to-moment emotional states in real-time will necessarily result in a culture of surveillance.

"Facial recognition represents a dystopic advancement of the police state," states the ban campaign website. Why? "Facial recognition is unlike any other form of surveillance," explains the campaign. "It enables automated and ubiquitous monitoring of an entire population, and it is nearly impossible to avoid. If we don't stop it from spreading, it will be used not to keep us safe, but to control and oppress us—just as it is already being used in authoritarian states."

Of perhaps more immediate concern, notes Erica Darragh, a board member at Students for Sensible Drug Policy, is that "if a university's facial recognition system gets hacked, students can't just change our faces and our lives like a credit card number."

The ban organizers suggest that natural campus allies for the campaign include Young Democratic Socialists, Students for Liberty, and Young Americans for Liberty.

Check out the ban campaign's scorecard listing the responses and non-responses from nearly 100 top universities on whether or not they plan to deploy campus facial recognition technology.

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  1. Daily reminder that the retarded cunt who wrote this voluntarily submitted his entire DNA profile to the government and anyone else who wants it.

    1. Feinting with damn praise, eh wot?

    2. Come on, dude. Not on National Have Fun at Work Day.

    3. RW: According to my DNA (along with relevant phenotypical indicia) I bear an X and a Y chromosome. Just saying.

      You may be interested in my article where I ask, “Can the Fourth Amendment Save Us from the Coming Era of Pervasive Biometric Surveillance?

      1. Wow, is Ron seixstly implying only women can be cunts?

        Bookmarked for your eventual SJW dragging Bails.

  2. Let’s ban gender recognition first.

    1. Obviously facial recognition would “out” transsexuals who switched after their data was collected. Not that that is usually necessary…

  3. The the non-profit organizations Fight for the Future and Students for Sensible Drug Policy are pro rape?

  4. “””Facial recognition represents a dystopic advancement of the police state.”””

    So does collection of phone meta data. Not saying the colleges are doing that, but that it’s an advancement of the police state.

    1. TV: Yes. See also my article, Thank You, Edward Snowden!

    2. Having a bunch of surveillance data is not enough for a police state. Constantly increasing the scope and depth of laws and trying to use government to manage human behavior is what makes a police state. Lots of cheap data just makes enforcement easier.

  5. He acknowledges that “students and faculty may want the ability to opt out.”

    But only the wrongthinkers would want to do that

  6. “Facial recognition systems are a great alternative to plastic cards”

    1. Attend college party
    2. Find girl
    3. Remove her face
    4. Wear her face to get into women’s dorm
    5. Get more faces
    6. Eat lunch for free

    1. +1 for the lolz.

  7. He cheerfully adds that facial recognition software can be configured to check class attendance while also monitoring students’ nonverbal reactions in real-time as they listen to lectures.

    1. Taking attendance at the college level? Really?
    2. Measuring nonverbal reactions? For what? What if someone doesn’t react?

    1. 1. Taking attendance at the college level? Really?

      That was my reaction too. It really blows my mind that attendance is ever taken at the college level. It also seems like a recipe for trouble when students from ethnic groups underrepresented in the training set are misclassified as absent.

      2. Measuring nonverbal reactions? For what? What if someone doesn’t react?

      Realistically, I’m guessing this is just ridiculous marketing. Charitably, I assume it’s something like trying to assess the degree to which students are intellectually engaged. On that count, though, I suspect this is a machine learning divining rod.

      1. ‘6079 Smith W.! Yes, you! Bend lower, please! You can do better than that. You’re not trying. Lower, please! That’s better, comrade. Now stand at ease, the whole squad, and watch me.’

  8. Alt text: “My tits aren’t up here.”

    1. Tit recognition?

  9. Just asking: how is a digital system that recognizes your face and places you at a certain place at a certain time substantially any different from another human who recognizes your face and records your location?

    1. “Another human”‘s brain is not connected to an information system that can instantly inform the government or anyone else with access to the system of your location.

  10. Shhh … don’t tell them that they could use the technology to identify and shame Trump voters (the slanted foreheads and beady eyes don’y ya know)

    /sarc … but not really

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  12. I have heard that facial recognition is just “common sense”, “sensible” policy to deal with the epidemic of gun violence.

    What is supposed to be the downside?

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