New York Bans Facial Recognition Technology in Schools Until 2022

Facial recognition, photo by Mike MacKenzie via

 By Maude Stevens, age 12

This summer, New York state lawmakers voted to ban the use of facial recognition technology in schools until 2022, citing student data protection and concerns that the technology might be biased against Latinx and Black students.

The New York State Education Department approved the technology in 2019, made by Clearview AI, to alert staff and security if a threatening person entered the building. One school district in Lockport, NY began using it in January 2020. But not everyone agrees with using the technology. “The district turned our kids into lab rats in a high-tech experiment in privacy invasion,” Jim Shultz, a concerned parent, said to the New York Times.

Earlier this year, the technology led to the false arrest of a Black man in Michigan because the system is not properly programmed to read faces of non-white people. “This is not an example of one bad algorithm,” says Joy Buolamwini, founder of the Algorithmic Justice League. “Just like instances of police brutality, it is a glimpse of how systemic racism can be embedded into AI systems like those that power facial recognition technologies.”

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