Some students in the UK can now pay for their lunch in the cafeteria using only their faces. Nine schools in North Ayrshire, Scotland, began accepting payments using biometric information obtained from facial recognition systems on Monday, according to the financial times.
The technology is provided by CRB Cunningham, which has installed a system that scans student faces and matches them to encrypted print templates stored locally on school servers. It is being incorporated to replace fingerprint scanning and card payments, which have been deemed less secure since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The technology is also designed to speed up the lines for lunch. CRB Managing Director David Swanston told the FT that the system reduced the average transaction time per student to just five seconds.
There is an ongoing global debate about the ethics of using facial recognition technology, particularly live facial recognition, and whether. Earlier this year, the use of facial recognition technology in schools . The UK does not have any such laws, it is up to individual schools to make decisions on how to use biometric technology.
In a blog post published in August, the North Ayrshire Council announced the introduction of facial recognition technology, asking parents to find details on how to register. “Exciting changes will soon take place in the way parents and caregivers pay for school purchases,” he said.
Around 97% of parents have reportedly given their consent for the system to scan their children, although critics have noted that the children themselves have not given their consent.
UK biometrics commissioner Fraser Sampson said just because schools have access to technology doesn’t mean they necessarily have to use it. “If there is a less intrusive way that should be used,” he said.
CRB Cunningham and North Ayrshire Council did not immediately respond to requests for comment.