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Education Privacy Software Hardware Technology

Face Recognition Is Now Being Used In Schools (theintercept.com) 206

Presto Vivace shares a report from The Intercept: Officials at the Lockport, New York, school district have purchased face recognition technology as part of a purported effort to prevent school shootings. Starting in September, all 10 of Lockport District's school buildings, just north of Buffalo, will be outfitted with a surveillance system that can identify faces and objects. The software, known as Aegis, was developed by SN Technologies Corp., a Canadian biometrics firm that specifically advertises to schools. It can be used to alert officials to whenever sex offenders, suspended students, fired employees, suspected gang members, or anyone else placed on a school's "blacklist" enters the premises. Aegis also sends alerts any time one of the "top 10" most popular guns used in school shootings appears in view of a camera. The district is spending most of its recent $4 million state "Smart School" grant on these and other enhancements to its security systems, including bullet-proof greeter windows and a mass notification system, according to the Niagra Gazette. Slashdot reader Presto Vivace adds: "This is why municipal elections are so important. Just because this stuff is on the market, does not mean your local school system has to buy it."

The report notes that "all the major school shootings in the last five years in the U.S. have been carried out by current students or alumnae of the school in question." These students wouldn't have their face entered into the face recognition system's blacklist. Furthermore, "Most shooters don't brandish their guns before opening fire; and by the time they do, an object-detection algorithm that could specify the exact type of weapon they're firing would not be of much use," reports The Intercept. "... the technology would give a school, at best, only a few extra seconds in response time to a shooting."
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Face Recognition Is Now Being Used In Schools

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  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2018 @11:03PM (#56703340) Journal

    So we have to compete with China in creepiness? [slashdot.org]

    • by Brett Buck ( 811747 ) on Thursday May 31, 2018 @01:01AM (#56703684)

      More than that, the bastard at Parkland had raised *every possible red flag* and had been reported to the responsible authorities multiple times by multimple people - and they still did nothing. Now, you see an alumnus on a camera, and you are going to rush in with the SWAT team in a few tens of seconds? When you have no idea why he is there or what he plans?

    • So we have to compete with China in creepiness? [slashdot.org]

      Of course since the average american and person in capitalist society is unaware how extreme wealth inequality is. So all the rulers are at full blown war against their publics. That's why the spying is there, to make sure you have the "correct" free market, corporation worshipping thoughts and not notice the end of the rule of law, endless copyright laws which equals total domination of government by the rich.

      See it in this speach by former national security adivisor of the United states:

      Elites fear poli [youtube.com]

  • by Bing Tsher E ( 943915 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2018 @11:07PM (#56703358) Journal

    any time one of the "top 10" most popular guns

    That is going to be a lot of fun for the kids. Better than eating tide pods. "Trigger the cams!"

    The coolest kids will be the ones who figure out the most clever ways of triggering the system.

  • Band-Aid solution... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2018 @11:09PM (#56703362)
    If someone is inside the school with a gun, it's too damn late. Want to fix school shootings? Put a waiting period on all gun purchases to allow the mentally ill to "cool off." Stop publicizing the names and activities of school shooters. Publicity encourages copycats -- this is a well-known phenomenon with suicides as well. And God forbid people have access to free mental health care, and we enact policies like limits on working hours and vacation time that actually keep family support networks together vs driving them apart. But nooooo ... we have our FREEDOM in America.
    • by I75BJC ( 4590021 )
      The mentally ill are already forbidden to purchase guns -- It's The Law! The problem stated in the summary is the fact that none of the recent shooters would be on the "Troubled/Unwanted Individuals" list. Why? Because the school administration did not follow their own rules (and, in come cases, the laws) on reporting students as troubled or problem students. The Government School Administrators screwed up royally. Only if the Administrators do their jobs properly would the face recognition system work.
    • Want to fix school shootings? Put a waiting period on all gun purchases to allow the mentally ill to "cool off."

      How many school shootings would that have stopped? Not many, especially since many states already have waiting periods.

    • by Calydor ( 739835 )

      While I agree with the idea of some kind of regulation of gun ownership (I'm European, after all) I don't think a waiting period will stop school shootings. How many school shootings happened in which the shooter bought the gun on his way to school?

    • Put a waiting period on all gun purchases to allow the mentally ill to "cool off."

      We have that in California, and we still have shootings. They just happen later. We're going to have to care for people's needs if we want to stop them. (Or we can try to ban guns, create a bunch of other problems, and turn the shootings into arson.)

    • I keep seeing this term "free ____," as though it is real. There is no such thing as "free" as in "cost." Addressing the issue of cost, in fact, is probably the most important part of any argument like, "____ should be available for free." Part of the cost argument has to address the issue of incentive for people to become professionals in a given field, such as mental health professionals (i.e., if mental healthcare is "free," that means "a cost to the taxpayers," which really means "at the whim of the gov

      • Taxes. Plenty of money that can be cut from:
        (1) the military
        (2) state law enforcement budgets if states enact rational drug and mental health policies

    • Want to fix school shootings? Put a waiting period on all gun purchases to allow the mentally ill to "cool off."

      What makes you think a waiting period would have stopped ANY of the school shootings? Are you under the impression that these kids are going out to buy guns just before they start shooting? Do kids even get a background check when acquiring guns?

      Look, I can respect that you want to do something to stop school shootings. Knee-jerk, emotional reactions feel good, but will those reactions solve the problem or do they just make you feel better?

  • Why must we relish every bad idea that comes along? Why?

    • So we can ketchup with our worst fears.

    • Why must we relish every bad idea that comes along? Why?

      What are you talking about? Now excuse me while I make my career driving for an app so I can get bitcoin sent to my phone, which is tracking my location and sending that data to FB so I can get ads based on my psychometric profiles based on my fun quiz I just took!.

    • Re:*facepalms* (Score:5, Interesting)

      by 6Yankee ( 597075 ) on Thursday May 31, 2018 @08:08AM (#56704510)

      We could do something about school shootings, or we could sell guns AND surveillance systems AND clear backpacks.

      We could do something about obesity, or we could sell Twinkies AND mobility scooters AND healthcare.

      For every problem, a profit. Solving the problems means removing the profit, and that's Communist. You're not a Communist, are you, son?

  • gun control in the United States. School shooters are a profit center. Instead of spending money on teaches and classroom supplies we are spending money on security theater. If we ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines, as they have done in Australia, we could protect school children and the rest of us.
    • by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2018 @11:31PM (#56703462)
      that, and NRA lobbyists, and single issue voters who think that the 2nd Amendment is the extent of the Constitution and all other freedoms are optional.
    • by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Thursday May 31, 2018 @01:54AM (#56703764)

      >"If we ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines, as they have done in Australia, we could protect school children and the rest of us."

      You are 100% wrong. The last school murdering, in Texas was done with a revolver, a shotgun, and [not deployed] bombs.

      1) Was it an "assault revolver"? No. Revolvers typically hold ONLY 6 rounds and have been around for hundreds of years. They have ZERO magazines.

      2) Was it an "assault shotgun"? No. Again, been around forever, typically hold only 2 to 5 rounds, and have ZERO magazines.

      3) Bombs are not guns. By the way, "assault cars" and vans are not guns. Knives are not guns. Gasoline, axes, bowes, pressure cookers, etc are all not guns.

      The problem is not simple. It isn't guns in the hands of good people, which is often the only thing that keeps things in check AND it is the only real thing that additional gun control affects the most. The problems are:

      1) Untreated mental health problems

      2) Way too much media coverage and sensationalism that causes copy-cating.

      3) Unarmed trained guards and unarmed trained staff that can't do anything about murder sprees until it is too late. There is often to the point of almost always zero armed resistance. And there is zero deterrence, due to the same reason.

      4) Insecure facilities with too many uncontrolled entrances and lack of defenses.

      5) Underenforced EXISTING laws. It is already illegal to sell guns of any type or capacity to the mentally ill or felons. It is already illegal to buy or possess guns of any type or capacity by the mentally ill or felons.

      6) This one is controversial and not proven yet, but possibly putting way too many children/teens on psychotropic drugs and without enough careful monitoring of their use.

      7) Lack of child supervision, teaching morality (in whatever form that takes), involvement in their lives, and true caring by their parent(s). Lack of holding children responsible for what they do (with real consequences) and preparing them to be adults.

      There are probably some others, but I think those are the main factors. Despite the sensationalism, school murders are still very, very rare when you look at all the data. Kids are far, far, far more likely to die of dozens of other things than a "mass shooting". And there is no way to have a free society without some amount of risk.

      • by bestweasel ( 773758 ) on Thursday May 31, 2018 @04:16AM (#56704006)

        You forgot
        8) A society awash with guns and too many people who value them above others' lives.

        Funny how it's only the US which specializes in gun massacres. Must be more of that American exceptionalism.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by mjwx ( 966435 )

          You forgot
          8) A society awash with guns and too many people who value them above others' lives.

          Funny how it's only the US which specializes in gun massacres. Must be more of that American exceptionalism.

          This. The problem is the love affair and lack of responsibility with the gun. Someone doesn't even need to buy or own their own gun to go on a rampage, they could just borrow someones, even without their permission as a lot of gun owners leave them loaded and lying around in the open (or at best, in an unlocked drawer). Until that attitude changes, dead kids are inevitable.

          Canada and France have many more guns than the UK. France has 31 (per 100 people), Canada has 30 and the UK has 7, however Canada a

        • Funny how it's only the US which specializes in gun massacres. Must be more of that American exceptionalism.

          Don't despair; Rwanda still leads in machete massacres, and Russian and China in gulags.

          Oh, and the UK in officially ignored child abuse networks.

        • With comments like these, it is not possible to have a rational discussion. Thank you for your contribution to solving this issue.

      • So you listed everything but the guns. That's so logical! But your list is clearly not long enough, because the world is full of things that could be the real cause.

        Come on, be a bit more creative. So far we've heard it blamed on too many doors, Ritalin, and pornography. What about sugar and/or sugar substitutes. Soft drinks. Oooh, I know: THE INTERNET! Maybe it's Hi-Def TV. Or standardized testing. Go old school and blame fluoridation of water. Something in the packaging of cheap Chinese imports. No (Ch

      • Revolvers typically hold ONLY 6 rounds and have been around for hundreds of years.

        Only about 180 years, actually. Though your point stands - it's not like they're a new technology. Note that I own two Civil War era revolvers (okay, so I was a reenactor once upon a time - get over it). One of which, admittedly needs some work (which I'll get around to someday - it's on the list), but between them, that's enough shots for your classic school shooting. With the added advantage of black powder smoke to scre

        • by mjwx ( 966435 )

          Note that the basic technology of the "assault weapon" is rather more than a century old as well.

          Well, not quite. The modern assault weapon really started with the M1 Garand in the late 30's but it wasn't until the Soviet SVT38 rifle which combined a gas operated self loading system with a detachable magazine, even though they were introduced in 1938, they were complex so few were available in 1941 when the Nazi's invaded. These are classified (by Brits at least) as "Self Loading Rifles" as they use rifle calibre rounds and were semi-automatic. The first true assault rifle as we know it was the StG 44

      • 4) Insecure facilities with too many uncontrolled entrances and lack of defenses.

        That one's big ... and the schools are also just too damn LARGE.

        In addition to the target rich environment and fish in a barrel architecture that tends to lead to, there's the fact that most teens are "troubled" to some degree or other ... it's a stressful time of life ... maybe forcing thousands of them together each day in one place in a Lord of the Flies environment is a bit of a mistake.

    • gun control in the United States. School shooters are a profit center. Instead of spending money on teaches and classroom supplies we are spending money on security theater.

      The quote looks absurd because someone thought it would be a good idea to start the discussion in the Subject line instead of using the Subject line in its intended use: To give a subject. Regardless, you are out of touch with reality if you truly believe the lack of gun control is to support spending money on Security Theater. Check yourself before you wreck yourself bro.

      If we ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines, as they have done in Australia, we could protect school children and the rest of us.

      How many school shootings involved an "assault weapon" and/or "high capacity" magazines? Forget about school shootings, how many crimes a

  • company getting a fat contract. That's what all these solutions to school shootings that aren't gun control and expanded healthcare are. It's worse than doing nothing. At least nothing is free.
    • So how much does the useless automated solution cost?

      We need to define a new unit of uselessness. It can't be a ratio, because 0/X is zero, and X/0 is undefined. And it has to include dollars (or whatever currency unit is appropriate for localization).

      Got any ideas, Slashdot Pundits?

  • An excerpt from Cory Doctorow's Little Brother story:

    I moved down the corridor lightly and sprightly, keeping my gait even and measured for the gait recognition cameras. These had been installed only a year before, and I loved them for their sheer idiocy. Beforehand, we'd had face recognition cameras covering nearly every public space in school, but a court ruled that was unconstitutional. So Benson and a lot of other paranoid school administrators had spent our textbook dollars on these idiot cameras that

    • Cameras are of little use if the shooter hides their face. It's not like it's hard to do. And if obvious means of hiding one's face are themselves detected (which I'm not sure how security systems should handle, should we arrest people walking around with band-aids hiding part of their face?), when there are cameras everywhere, they will be walking around with masks. There are very good silicone-based masks nowadays that even an human can get fooled by at a distance - so an automated recognition device has

      • *Exactly* And a mask is only useful for getting in, but once somebody is inside (mask or no mask), facial recognition and security cameras become as much a deterrent as "Gun Free Zone" signs posted around the school. Completely and utterly useless. Once the shooting starts, so what if the facial recognition system identifies Davy Dumbass as the shooter and he's using a Mossberg shotgun and 9 mm Glock? He's just going to keep on shooting and taking lives until he's either dead or arrested.

        As for guns, you'

    • Yeah, I'm curious about this technology in regards to suspended students. How do you deal with legal issues of consent for the image of a minor? Especially in regards to a third party potentially handling these images for processing. I can't imagine they can do all the storage and processing at a local server on site at the school, most facial recognition requires a networked system (i.e. the cloud), and so this basically means the school is passing on images of their students to a third party. This isn't l
  • by ChoGGi ( 522069 )

    It can be used to alert officials to whenever sex offenders, suspended students, fired employees, suspected gang members, or anyone else placed on a school's "blacklist" enters the premises.

    Shouldn't they also be using this to give an alert for people they haven't identified? Make a field day at the start of each year, and get pictures of all the guardians or some such.

  • I don't think you'll have any problem with suspended students trying to sneak back into school.

    "But please Principal! I really want to go to class!

    Out of school suspension for a teenage misfit is equivalent to forced paid leave for a professional. Might as well call it vacation.

    • Depends. If they want to cause trouble, being suspended would give them freedom of movement inside the school for the most part. Most teachers would not be expecting to see them in class, and would not be on alert for a missing student that way. Depending on how well patrolled the hallways are, a student on suspension could get access to areas they would normally not be able to during the day due to class schedules, or confront students/teachers that they may not normally see at a time of their choosing.
  • obviously all these advanced technologies are the right thing to do, and they will be very effective.
    this couldn't be solved any other way, like adjusting current laws/rights etc

  • ... to "America First?"

  • ... schools pay shit wages to teachers and big bucks to foreigners for something that is not likely to happen and not likely to work when it does.

  • How much would it cost to issue each child a Chromebook and have them telecommute from home? All of your flashy shiny technology looks good on paper and I'm sure it makes you feel like a kid with a brand new toy. But the best way to prevent a MASS shooting, is to remove the mass. And if things really aren't so bad that you would consider this as an option, then I guess they really aren't all that bad.

    • Gen X isn't perfect, but no generation has a monopoly on coming up with bad ideas (although Millennials and Gen Y seem to making a good effort). As for your idea of taking the 'mass' out of mass shooting, you have a very good point. Kids can largely be educated online for subjects such as math, science, reading/writing, history, social studies, etc. The only subjects that require a physical class are science lab, PE, and some of the arts (theater, music).
      • Online education lacks the ability to raise a hand and ask a question. Yeah, you can ask later, but I for one am sufficiently ADHD and disorganized that I probably would have forgotten my questions.
  • Sigh. (Score:2, Informative)

    When I hear these stories out of the USA about how to prevent school shootings I don't know whether to laugh or cry. But I think it's mostly cry.

    I live in Canada.

    When my kids go to school they don't go through metal detectors or deal with facial recognition. Their backpacks aren't transparent and the only 'drills' they do are for earthquake and fire. There are no bullet-proof shelters in their classroom, no armed guards at the school and no debate about arming teachers.

    Why? Because Canada HAS G
  • Meanwhile, all that funding that should have gone to improve actual educational resources for the students is instead wasted on a "defense system" that probably won't defend against anything.
  • by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Thursday May 31, 2018 @12:14PM (#56705946) Journal
    Stop publicizing school shootings!

    You don't agree with me? Here's my reasoning: First take a look at this article [npr.org] and see what the shooter had to say in his videos before the shooting took place. He's clearly looking forward to the attention and notoriety he's going to get from it. This is the way the minds of these sick fucks work: they think they've been wronged, they think the world owes them, they think that they're going to be 'heroes' when they commit their act of mass murder, and even though they're likely going to either be shot to death by police or die in prison, they're basking in the attention and the idea that they'll be the stars of the press for weeks and months. Each school shooter that is publicized is enabling the next shooter, and so on, and so on, as they all want their shot at fame and glory; WE NEED TO DENY THEM THAT.

    There needs to be a gag order in place on these. The press needs to be denied access to information. The arrests, the trials, they all need to be closed-door with gag orders in place so the proceedings are entirely secret. When they put them in prison, it needs to be done silently, they need to be put in solitary permanently, not allowed to talk to ANYONE so there's no leaks. If there is no payoff to the shooters then my theory is most of the shootings won't happen because there won't be any reward for doing it.
    • You are on top of a pyramid, surrounded by slippery slopes.

      First, yes, I too would like to "Stop publicizing school shootings!". It would be nice to have some kind of deal where this type of news is buried page 10 with just a statement of basic facts. It used to be that govt would work with the big news producers to suppress information, a state of affairs from WWII. Now, "everybody" is a news producer, and "everyone" is an editorialist. Lack of information will not suppress them--they will make up their ow

      • Listen, I don't claim to have the whole solution, but it's clear to me that the subsequent shooters are being emboldened by the previous ones, and are also seeking validation/fame. They AT LEAST need to not sensationalize these news stories, better yet not report on them AT ALL. The fewer sick minds there are that think they too can be famous, the better; can we at least agree on that? I honestly believe there is an element of narcissism to this.

Time to take stock. Go home with some office supplies.

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