Schools Can Now Get Facial Recognition Tech for Free. Should They?

  • 2018-07-18
  • Wired

Like many Parents in the United States, Rob Glaser has been thinking a lot lately about how to keep his kids from getting shot in school. Specifically, he’s been thinking of what he can do that doesn’t involve getting into a nasty and endless battle over what he calls “the g-word.”

So he started working on a solution that he believes will prove less divisive, and therefore more immediately actionable. Over the past two years, RealNetworks has developed a facial recognition tool that it hopes will help schools more accurately monitor who gets past their front doors.

But while Glaser’s proposed fix may circumvent the decades-long fight over gun control in the US, it simultaneously positions him at the white-hot center of a newer, but still contentious, debate over how to balance privacy and security in a world that is starting to feel like a scene out of Minority Report.

Glaser, who says he is a “card-carrying member of the ACLU,” is all too aware of the risks of facial recognition technology being used improperly. That’s one reason, in fact, why he decided to release SAFR to schools first. “In my view, when you put tech in the market, the right thing to do is to figure out how to steer it in good directions,” he says.