5 Rules – Communication Strategy for Student Facial Recognition
A common question we receive about student facial recognition technology with schools, is “what do we tell our school community, particularly the parents, and how?”
Facial recognition technology is not new: we are all familiar with it – Apple and Samsung use facial recognition to unlock some of their phones. It’s when you consider just how many images a school can produce each week, and then multiply this by the number of student faces involved, facial recognition really comes to the fore!
Interestingly, Australia’s Privacy Act includes biometric data, but at the time of this article, facial recognition is not considered biometric data. This could however quickly change, and therefore, it would be prudent to treat the information with this in mind. 1988 Privacy Act
Following is a list of five rules to help schools build a communication strategy with their community while launching student facial recognition technology.
5 Rules for a Communication Strategy
Rule 1. Be open and honest
Parents can be sensitive to a school using facial recognition to identify students in images, or anyone else, for that matter. A particular demographic in your school with a heightened sensitivity will be new parents with their first child.
Being open and honest with parents drastically reduces the stress and fear that parents could feel if they found out about it through other means. Parents, by the very nature of placing their child at your school, display a faith that your institution will take care of their child, their pride and joy. To maintain this trust, simply tell them upfront.
Rule 2. Tell them why
Simon Sinek, the author and motivational speaker, is famous for saying ‘Start with why’ – it’s all about the children!
In today’s world of hypersensitivity to threats, both real and potential, there is a paradox with our ever-growing need to communicate to the world at large. Student facial recognition technology enables a school to identify students with a high degree of accuracy. And by knowing who the students are in the images, the technology helps the school meet the parent’s wishes more accurately as to what can and cannot be published.
Rule 3. Communicate the security protocols you have in place
As we are talking about student information, it comes as no surprise that parents will be concerned. So be proactive in telling them the safeguards you have in place. You already hold information about their child, so the school already has extensive experience in keeping it safe.
Highlight your protocols, such as:
– all images are stored on school premises,
– unpublished photos are not accessible through the Internet, even for staff,
– access on a needs only basis, and naturally,
– all actions are trackable.
Rule 4. Gain consent
Each year, schools obtain parents’ approval to use of images of their child. It may be a simple opt in and out, although schools are steadily moving towards a more extensive classification system by breaking permissions down to web, promotional and publication permissions. The 1988 Privacy Act requires any organisation over $3 million in annual turnover to obtain consent when keeping personal information. So other than being polite and attuned to your community’s needs, it’s the law.
Rule 5. Provide the ability to opt out
Family situations like broken families and unwanted media attention are just two examples of why a parent may change their consent. By letting them know how things are managed when they change, you how that you are prepared and that you have the child’s interest at heart. Again, if that’s not enough to inspire you, know it’s also the law.
If you think there could be additional rules to follow, or if you have experiences you would like to share, to help schools navigate this sensitive minefield, we’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.
And one thing before you go, if your school uses Synergetic, you may be interested in reading our last blog on how Synergetic and SchoolBench work together to help schools. 3 Reasons SchoolBench integrates with Synergetic Student Management System