NYS suspends use of facial recognition technology in schools, directs study

State News

(Pixabay)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WWTI) — New legislation has been signed to suspend the use of facial recognition technology in New York Schools.

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed new legislation on Tuesday to suspend the use of facial recognition technology in schools and directed a study of whether the technology is appropriate in schools.

As of December 22, the legislation places a moratorium on schools purchasing and using biometric identifying technology until at least July 1, 2020, or until the study is completed.

According to the Governor’s Office, the legislation follows concerns regarding the potential risks of facial recognition or biometric technologies, including reported rates of misidentification of women, young people and people of color, as well as the safety and security of data stored.

Governor Cuomo stated that this suspension focuses on the safety and security of New York State students.

“Facial recognition technology could provide a host of benefits to New Yorkers, but its use brings up serious and legitimate privacy concerns that we have to examine, especially in schools,” stated Governor Cuomo. “This legislation requires state education policymakers to take a step back, consult with experts, and address privacy issues before determining whether any kind of biometric identifying technology can be brought into New York’s schools.”

Additionally, the State Office of Information Technology is set to work with the State Education Department to gain feedback from teachers, parents, and school safety, security, data, and student privacy issues experts.

The Office of Governor Cuomo stated the study will examine specific considerations in the legislation including impacts on civil liberties and privacy.

Legislation A6787-D/S5140-B passed on December 22, 2020, will be applicable to both public and private schools in the State of New York.

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