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East China university tests facial recognition in classrooms, dismisses students’ concerns

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/9/2 17:03:39

The university installs face recognition system in the classroom. Photo: screenshot of the video posted by Pear Video



 China Pharmaceutical University in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu Province has installed a face recognition system in classrooms to automatically sign in and monitor students in class, sparking huge controversy over student privacy.

The system can access every student's personal information and monitor their behavior in class such as nodding off and playing with their mobile phones, thepaper.cn reported on Monday.

The university is currently piloting the facial-recognition system in two classrooms, Xu Jianzhen, director of the book and information center of the university, told thepaper.cn that.

All of students' behaviors can be monitored by the system, to judge whether they are listening or not and how often they look up or down, said Xu.

Xu said that the facial recognition system aims to reduce and even eliminate school truancy and leaving class early in the hope of improving students' attendance and discipline in class.

However, the report said that some students think the system is an invasion of their privacy.

"This system is designed to encourage you to study (hard), but you still complain about it. May I ask, are you a student?" Xu said, dismissing the students' concerns. 

He noted that they had consulted the local public security bureau about privacy issues. The system does not invade personal privacy of students as the classrooms are public space, Xu said. 

The university has also installed face recognition systems at the school's gate and other buildings such as the library.

The facial recognition systems will be installed in every classroom if the pilot program proves a success, Xu said. 

Meanwhile, the relevant topic has been viewed more than 40 million times as of press time on Sina Weibo.

Many netizens don't support the school's decision and questioned that the face recognition system is abused in the university. 

"Why not get students' attention through improving the lesson quality," a netizen wrote.

Global Times



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