UK schools are using facial recognition to take pupils’ lunch money

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Illustration by James Bareham / The Verge

A group of nine schools in the UK have started using facial recognition to verify children’s payments for school meals. The schools in North Ayrshire in Scotland claim that using the technology is faster and more hygienic than taking payments using cards or fingerprint scanners, but privacy advocates warn that the move is normalizing biometric surveillance.

“With Facial Recognition, pupils simply select their meal, look at the camera and go, making for a faster lunch service whilst removing any contact at the point of sale,” reads a flyer distributed to parents by the schools. An FAQ sheet says that children’s biometric data is stored in an encrypted form and deleted when a child leaves the school. Parents have to opt-in for children to…

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