By Aaron Kesel
After the most recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, schools across the U.S. are installing police-grade surveillance “gunshot-detection systems,” metal detectors and even biometric locks requiring facial recognition or a person’s iris, The Atlantic reported.
Hermosa Elementary in Artesia, New Mexico, has installed a network of wireless microphones that can analyze the audio signature of gunfire.
The devices are placed high on the ceiling in classrooms and hallways to alert authorities of the sound and location of gunshots. They can then identify the make and model of the gun/guns, and automatically seamlessly lock doors and set off alarms throughout the school grounds.
Besides making schools more into prisons with this technology by conditioning children that this is for their safety, the other danger is allowing artificial intelligence to decide when to automatically lock doors.
A horrifying scenario can emerge where the doors lock before students evacuate the room and actually prevents them from escaping a potential shooter.
The company responsible for installing the surveillance tech is EAGL Technology, a New Mexico security company. The technology was originally designed by engineers at the Department of Energy for police.
On a rough estimate, installing EAGL’s system throughout an entire school costs about $25,000. However, EAGL installed Hermosa’s system for free as a test, according to the report. The report added that schools in Texas and Colorado have explored using its system as well.
Seeing as schools are struggling to pay teachers and for school equipment, one has to wonder where the money will come from for this technology?
That’s not the only technology being used in schools, according to The Atlantic.
In March, the Randolph Central School District in New York announced plans for cameras enabled with license-plate-reading technologies, part of its planned $500,000 security upgrade. The cameras would scan visitors’ license plates, then match them to police databases of stolen vehicles and active warrants. And in June, the Lockport City School District in New York allotted $95,000 annually in state grant money for a district-wide facial-recognition system. Provided by the Ontario-based biometrics company SN Technologies, the proposed system would scan visitors’ faces, comparing them against criminal databases and alerting police if there’s a match. Similar proposals have the go-ahead in New Jersey, Wyoming, and Arkansas, where Magnolia School District officials approved nearly $300,000 for the technology.
Shockingly, or perhaps not, some schools are even suggesting to install cameras in student bathrooms to protect students, as Activist Post reported last year. Although that decision caused outrage amongst parents.
The other technology being installed in schools is facial recognition security cameras which are heavily flawed. The ACLU’s New York branch raised concerns in an open letter to the New York State Department of Education, expressing that the Lockport school district (one of the first to use facial recognition) has failed to provide information about data retention policies, while adding that the technology is heavily flawed and invasive.
Facial recognition software is notoriously inaccurate, and is particularly bad at identifying women, children and people of color.
Bringing this invasive technology into the classroom opens up the possibility that innocent students will be misidentified and punished for things they did not do. It could turn our school environment from one of learning and exploration into one of suspicion and control.
This brings up several notable questions highlighted by the ACLU.
- Who will have access to the database? Will it be shared with local law enforcement or federal enforcement authorities like ICE?
- Who is being added to the “unwanted person” database? How does someone get on that list and how might they get off of it?
- Will this technology be used to track who students associate with? Will it be used to crack down on minor misbehavior and enforce code of conduct violations, as indicated by one email from a school official?
Public school is becoming more and more like a prison in the U.S. and UK; prisoners have a camera on them in the bathroom and at all times, not students going to a school of “higher learning” to get an education. This is just more indoctrination to accept the nanny state. The ramifications on privacy could set a huge precedent.