The U.K.'s data privacy watchdog is encouraging schools to stop using facial recognition to verify students' school lunch payments. At least nine schools in Scotland began using the technology this week, prompting concerns about privacy and the ethical issues of collecting children's biometric data.
- Schools say the face scans are faster and more sanitary than cards and fingerprint scanners and can reduce COVID transmission. Parents have to opt-in for their children to participate.
- But schools should "carefully consider the necessity and proportionality of collecting biometric data before they do so," according to the U.K.'s Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), an independent body created to promote information rights and data privacy.
- It's encouraging a different approach that's "less intrusive."
- The ICO will contact the government in North Ayrshire, Scotland, where the systems were deployed, to discuss the matter.
- Data protection laws provide "additional protections for children," it noted.