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U.K. schools install facial recognition cameras to curb tardiness

In a controversial move that could make taking attendance a thing of the past, some U.K. schools are using cutting-edge cameras to scan students’ faces as they enter school, reports the Daily Mail. The face-recognition technology makes sure they have turned up, records whether they were on time or late, and keeps an accurate roll call. It also can deliver messages to pupils as they sign in. Ten schools have started using the system, which is likely to be introduced elsewhere if considered a success. But privacy campaigners reacted angrily yesterday, warning that the technology was another “encroachment on civil liberties.” The faceREGISTER systems that are being installed in schools take 3D digital images of faces and infrared scans. The technology, made by Northamptonshire firm Aurora Computer Services, is said to be so accurate that there is no chance of pupils signing in for their friends. Sir Christopher Hatton School, a comprehensive school in Northamptonshire, started testing it on A-level pupils (high-school students) last month. Head of sixth form Kelli Foster said: “The technology is just incredible. Before, each pupil had to sign in and out of the reception by filling in a form, but now it takes under ten seconds to gather so much more information.” But Big Brother Watch campaign director Daniel Hamilton said: “This is another worrying development in the expansion of the surveillance state…”

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