We are staring our Orwellian future right in the face. Beginning in New York, facial recognition is coming to schools in the United States and it’ll be switched on for testing next week.
The dystopian future George Orwell warned about in his accidental historical predictions book, 1984, has arrived. According to an article by Engadget, the Lockport City School District in New York will start testing a facial and object recognitionsystem called “Aegis” on June 3rd. According to BuzzFeed News, that will make it the first in the U.S. to pilot a facial recognition mass surveillance system on its students and faculty.
The district installed cameras and the software suite back in September, using $1.4 million of the $4.2 million funding it received through the New York Smart Schools Bond Act. Funding provided through the Bond Act is supposed to go towards instructional tech devices, such as iPads and laptops, but the district clearly had other plans. –Engadget
BuzzFeed News got its hands on a copy of a letter distributed to the students’ parents, and it describes Aegis as “an early warning system” that can notify officials of threats. But that’s the propagandized version of what the system is in reality: it’s a mass surveillance tool being sold to the public as “safety” as with any human rights infringement. The system, created by Canadian company SN Technologies, can apparently keep track of certain individuals in school grounds.
Schools have long been indoctrination centers and it doesn’t look like that trend will be reversed anytime soon, in fact, it’s being amplified. The system can identify students and staff who’ve been suspended, but it’s unclear if Lockport will use it to monitor those who’ve been suspended over non-violent offenses.
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