In China, Civilian surveillance has seen a hit in recent times, with facial recognition leading the charge in the technologies used to keep tabs on the population. Police are scanning travellers using facial recognition glasses, authorities are making use of the technology to monitor ethnic minorities — and now the Orwellian technology considers kids as its new target. According to Hangzhou.com, a government-run Chinese website, a school has installed facial recognition technology that aims to monitor how attentive the students are in class.
Three cameras have already been installed above a blackboard at the Hangzhou Number 11 High School that is located in eastern China. The system aims to identify seven different facial expressions — happy, sad, neutral, angry, disappointed, surprised, and scared — to determine whether the students are focused on their lessons and if they are not, the computer will feed the information back to the teacher. So far, the technology is in only one classroom, but it will soon roll out across the school by the summer.
One child informed Hangzhou.com: “Previously when I had classes that I didn’t like very much, I would be lazy and maybe take a nap on the desk or flick through other textbooks. But I don’t dare be distracted since the cameras were installed in the classrooms. It’s like a pair of mystery eyes are constantly watching me.”
The program has been unsurprisingly faced with criticism from some quarters. However, Mr Ni, the headmaster of the school, said that he believes that the system will improve educational standards.
According to the report made by Hangzhou.com, he stated: “It’s the same as teachers having an assistant, and it can improve the quality of teaching.”
He added: “Some have said it can infringe the privacy of students, but it only records students’ movements, rather than filming activities in class.” Ominously, he added: “And those who focus on lectures will be marked with an A, while students who let their minds wander will be marked with a B.”