UK schools will use facial recognition to speed up lunch payments

Your child's lunch may soon be influenced by facial recognition. According to the Financial Times, nine North Ayrshire schools will begin accepting payments for cafeteria (or canteen) lunches. This is done by scanning students' faces. Although the technology is intended to reduce touch during pandemics, it will also speed up transaction times. This could be crucial when you only have 25 minutes to feed an entire school of hungry children.
Both CRB Cunningham, the system installer, and the schools argued that the systems would address security and privacy concerns. CRB Cunningham pointed out that the hardware was not using live facial recognition (actively scanning people), and was instead comparing encrypted faceprint templates. Since schools already used fingerprint readers, this was more of an upgrade in biometric technology than an addition to security. Facial recognition, which is more secure than conventional PINs, was also a concern. North Ayrshire council stated that 97% of parents or children had consented.

However, this won't please all critics. Big Brother Watch and England’s Biometrics Commissioner maintained that facial recognition is arbitrary. It was also feared that school rollouts could normalize facial scanning and reduce privacy concerns among students. This technology might be familiar to you if you grew up with it.

This could be a problem if there is growing opposition. It's likely that many will be monitoring the UK school rollout to assess the viability and real-world pitfalls of facial recognition.