Schools Are Normalizing Intrusive Surveillance
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Reason
Posted: October 16th, 2023
Public schools ... are the focus of a new report on surveillance and kids by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). "Over the last two decades, a segment of the educational technology (EdTech) sector that markets student surveillance products to schools — the EdTech Surveillance industry — has grown into a $3.1 billion a year economic juggernaut," begins Digital Dystopia The Danger in Buying What the EdTech Surveillance Industry is Selling. "The EdTech Surveillance industry accomplished that feat by playing on school districts' fears of school shootings, student self-harm and suicides, and bullying — marketing them as common, ever-present threats." As the authors detail, among the technologies are surveillance cameras. These are often linked to software for facial recognition, access control, behavior analysis, and weapon detection. That is, cameras scan student faces and then algorithms identify them, allow or deny them entry based on that ID, decide if their activities are threatening, and determine if objects they carry may be dangerous or forbidden. "False hits, such as mistaking a broomstick, three-ring binder, or a Google Chromebook laptop for a gun or other type of weapon, could result in an armed police response to a school," cautions the report. Students are aware that they're being observed. Of students aged 14–18 surveyed by the ACLU ... thirty-two percent say, "I always feel like I'm being watched."