I’ve grown accustomed to your face

The Financial Times reports that nine schools in the UK’s North Ayrshire will start taking lunch payments using facial recognition. The benefits include contactless transactions (great during a pandemic), speed (great when trying to serve hundreds of students in a short period of time), and a statistically insignificant number of monetary mistakes (cash over and short is greatly reduced). The cons? Non-technical parents and privacy warriors think that there’s a difference between verifying identity with a student ID card (or paying with a credit card) and facial recognition.

Verification is verification. If parents are truly worried about students’ privacy, take their smartphones away. The data collected by a smartphone during the normal “doing of life” is 1000x more invasive than using facial recognition to speed up the line in the cafeteria. Why does the idea of being recognized in this way (rather than being recognized by a string of numbers) freak so many people out? I have a few ideas, but I’d like to hear from you.

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and the CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, writes a weekly column for Adweek, and is a regular commentator on CNN and CNBC and writes a popular daily business blog. He’s the Co-Host of the award-winning podcast Techstream with Shelly Palmer & Seth Everett and he hosts the Shelly Palmer #CryptoWednesday Livestream. Follow @shellypalmer or visit shellypalmer.com.

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