UK schools are deploying facial recognition cameras in multiple school canteens to deal with lunchtime transactions.
An FT report revealed that schools in Scotland are turning to this type of biometric authentication to speed up lunchtime sales, scanning the faces of students as they queue up for their lunch.
The software will be trialed across nine schools in North Ayrshire and will replace existing systems like fingerprint scanners and card payments to be more “Covid-secure”.
“It’s the fastest way of recognising someone at the till — it’s faster than a card, it’s faster than fingerprint. In a secondary school you have around about a 25-minute period to serve potentially 1,000 pupils. So we need fast throughput at the point of sale,” said David Swanston, the managing director of CRB Cunninghams, the company that installed the system, who added that the average transaction time was reduced to five seconds per student.
Obviously, the use of biometric data has some privacy experts and watchdogs concerned.
“It’s normalising biometric identity checks for something that is mundane. You don’t need to resort to airport style [technology] for children getting their lunch,” said Silkie Carlo from Big Brother Watch.
However, the North Ayrshire council has said that the measure has parental support, with 97% of children or their parents had given consent for the new system.