a new way to pay for school meals?

In several countries, the technology of facial recognition tends to normalize. It is increasingly used in various sectors that affect the daily lives of citizens, often for security or authentication. What’s more, its generalization seems to make sense with the recent advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, since it constitutes an alternative making it possible to limit contacts. Recently, schools in the UK have started using it for collect canteen money.

The project, which promises to be a test, involves a group of nine schools in North Ayrshire, in Scotland. The initiators of the program believe that this approach is more fast and hygienic compared to payments by cards or fingerprint scanners.

Naturally, this trend towards the normalization of biometric monitoring does not reassure defenders of the right to privacy at all.

A faster and more hygienic way

North Ayrshire has sent out an FAQ sheet to parents and guardians. In the document, it is specified that the children’s biometric data is stored in the form of encrypted data. However, this information would be deleted when the student leaves school. In addition, the use of this new means of payment will require parental consent. Parents will also be able to use a PIN code to verify payments.

“With facial recognition, students simply choose their meal, look at the camera and leave, which speeds up food service while eliminating point-of-sale contact. “

The prospectus

A trend towards standardization of biometric surveillance

David Swanston, managing director of CRB Cunninghams, the company responsible for installing the technology, insisted on the time saving what brings this alternative. This technology would reduce five seconds on average the payment time per student.

97 % children signed up for the program. A minority of parents nevertheless believe that it is a crowd effect and that children are not really aware of the dangers of this technology.

Silkie Carlo, of the British campaign group Big Brother Watch, considers the program simply unnecessary.

“It’s standardizing biometric identity checks for something mundane. You do not need to resort to [technologie] airport type so that the children can collect their meals. “

In all cases, the trend continues, despite the marked mistrust of part of the public. According to the CEO of CRB Cunninghams, 65 other schools have already signed up to introduce this technology.


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