Advocates ask colleges to avoid facial recognition as surveillance grows

Enlarge / Students from George Washington University in DC are among those calling for a resolution against the use of facial recognition at their school. (credit: Toni L. Sandys | The Washington Post | Getty Images)

Ah, college: that time in a young adult’s life for encountering new friends, new areas of study, ill-advised time management and beverage consumption decisions, and a pervasive surveillance network to track it all.

Sophisticated systems for tracking people have sprung up everywhere as we march through the 21st century, and institutions of higher education are no exception. To that end, digital rights advocacy group Fight for the Future today launched a campaign to get facial recognition off of college campuses. The campaign is partnering with student advocacy groups at The George Washington University in Washington, DC, and DePaul University in Chicago.

“Facial-recognition surveillance spreading to college campuses would put students, faculty, and community members at risk. This type of invasive technology poses a profound threat to our basic liberties, civil rights, and academic freedom,” Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, said in a written statement. Greer added that facial recognition is not yet widely seen on college campuses, and she and the members of the campaign hope to keep it that way.

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