Privacy groups call for schools to stop using facial recognition technology

Video: Privacy groups call for schools to stop using facial recognition technology

Privacy groups are calling for public schools and colleges across the country to stop using facial recognition technology.

Opponents said it’s an invasion of privacy while supporters said it helps keep students safe.

"It is surveillance that we don’t have any choice about whether or not to use and it indiscriminately monitors everything we do,” said Susan Grant, director of consumer protection and privacy for the Consumer Federation of America.

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CFA is one of more than 40 groups that sent a letter to school administrators.

“On behalf of leading consumer, privacy, and civil liberties organizations, we are calling on administrations to commit to not using facial recognition technology (for non-personal reasons, e.g. when used to unlock personal phones) in schools,” the letter said. “This invasive and biased technology inherently violates the liberty and the rights of students and faculty and has no place in our educational institutions.”

Grant said the data collected is vulnerable to hackers and the technology may not always be accurate.

"There is an error rate especially with people of color particularly with African-American women where technology is inaccurate and that can lead to people being falsely accused of things,” Grant said.

But some supporters have argued the technology acts as a safety measure.

The Texas City Independent School District started using facial recognition technology in May.

A spokesperson said it helps identify people who don’t belong on campus.

“We have had to use this feature when an employee who was fired made threats to supervisors and other employees,” Texas City ISD Director of Communications Melissa Tortorici said.