blog / 29 November 2019

The debate on facial recognition – a safe and smart technology

This month, we dive into the debate on facial recognition as a safe technology and how SchoolBench is adding value in this space.
Highlights this month are:

  • Facial recognition – a smart technology
  • Feature feedback from Trinity College
  • Reportage on EduTech Singapore
  • Our Kindle winner from St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School
  • Share your story

Facial recognition – a smart technology

Meaning: a noun; a machine or system capable of automated and seemingly intelligent operation.

One of the most frequent and common concerns raised by clients is the use of facial recognition in schools and whether this technology may encroach on the human rights of students – specifically, their privacy. Strong imagery and fear tactics point to facial recognition technology, in that it may be misused by some organisations or governments.

At SchoolBench, we take these concerns seriously and is at the heart of our solution. We often discuss this and the value it provides a school. Our approach has resulted in an ever-growing list of happy customers.

Key in this debate is that the information, data and referencing remains at the school. No outside organisations can access or use the information without the school’s consent. It is the school’s data, plain and simple, and no one owns or have any copyright over the images. This is a fundamental reason why SchoolBench is the superior choice.

It is important to remember why SchoolBench uses facial recognition in the first place.

Its purpose is threefold.

Firstly, facial recognition of images is used to protect the privacy of students who appear in images.

Additionally, the technology provides the school with a level of compliance in relation to Australia’s stringent privacy policies.

Lastly, it provides confidence to parents by automatically applying their media consent to each image of their child.

By using this technology as part of the solution, SchoolBench is contributing positively and proactively to ensure peace of mind, and media consent becomes a key property and identifier for all images in SchoolBench, not just today, but in years to come.

Should the law change, so will the stringent parameters of what information photos need to contain, to not only be publishable but also be searchable.

If the image has no clear permission level, you simply don’t use it in any external communications, be that social, print or other community media.

With the added security layer of the school owning all the images, the governance processes a school sets in place underpin how images are used. SchoolBench places that control into the hands of the marketers, business or school administrators responsible for using and publishing photos or videos.

SchoolBench policies about facial recognition satisfying Australia’s privacy laws, and parent consent has been an overwhelming driver and a key uptake reason for the product’s success.

Mr Kieren Fitzpatrick, Managing Director of Parashift and the company behind SchoolBench, said,

“While all organisations have a duty to ensure the privacy of Australians are kept at the forefront of their business dealing, facial recognition technology serves a tremendous purpose in streamlining the management and use of images by the thousands of schools in Australia for communication, business, marketing and community communication purposes. Like all technologies, there are risks, and SchoolBench has been designed to address these from the get-go.”

“The ability to use smart technology to provide our schools and parents with control on where and how student images are used is a primary focus for our clients and their governance process,” said Mr Fitzpatrick.

As an Australian solution, SchoolBench proves facial recognition of children in schools can have positive effects and provides privacy and safety for children and parents alike. The technology will grow and adapt according to the evolution of the product and in line with Australian privacy and human rights laws.

Your opinion counts, so if you would like to drop us a line on this subject, click here.

Feature feedback

This month we share the three most valued SchoolBench functions that Trinity College in Adelaide has found since adopting the solution in January 2019.

The pain points that are being overcome include:

  • not having to rename images and to encode metadata is resulting in an enormous amount of time being saved by the school.
  • One single system, that being one application, one repository, one place where all imagery is stored and accessed. In Trinity College’s own words, “So much better than images stored all over the place on all sorts of devices.”
  • Colour coding because an instant visual identifier of parental consent, or no consent or unknown consent, is just a mouse hover away. Quick, nimble and efficient.

What’s your favourite SchoolBench functionality?

Reportage – the Singapore report

Our team attended EduTech Asia earlier this month and what a show it was!

The SchoolBench stand “popped” in colour and activity as educators, marketers, technology staff and government personnel including our very own Austrade and Australian High Commission, stopped by to learn about SchoolBench, what is does, how and what this solution could mean for their school. We learnt a lot about our South East Asian neighbours’ media assets and record compliance needs. The conversations were fast and furious.

Client Director, Henri Guillaume, delivered an extremely well attended talk on day two of the conference: Photo and Video Management in the Age of the Internet. The evolution in media, volume of data, regulatory challenges and how to navigate this new paradigm were hot topics that elicited many questions. The talk was followed by many of the delegates making a beeline to the SchoolBench stand where interest piqued, business cards were exchanged and appointments booked for future discovery discussions.

Photo: The SchoolBench team in full swing at EduTech Asia 2019, Singapore

Needless to say, the conversations had and insights gleaned have opened greater awareness for SchoolBench’s application in the South East Asian region.

We know this because the team uncovered the same pain points schools in Australia have and are discovering and the risk associated with storage and use of student imagery needs to have the same risk factors overcome, regardless of geographical boundaries.

We are looking forward to showcasing SchoolBench’s versatility to an international audience regardless of geographical boundaries.

The winner is …

We had a very happy and radiant Alice Tidmarsh, Director of Marketing and Admissions at St Aidan’s Girls’ Grammar School in Brisbane, send us this photo recently. Alice attended and met us at the EducatePlus Brisbane conference earlier this financial year. We had an insightful discussion and demonstration. Post conference and hey presto, Alice’s business card was randomly selected as the lucky winner of our giveaway Kindle. Congratulations Alice!

Photo: Alice Tidmarsh is the lucky winner of a Kindle from our EducatePlus Brisbane conference stand. Congratulations Alice!

Share your story

We love hearing your stories about your digital media management experiences within your school community. What hurdles are you facing with your current photo library? Does your school even have one? Can you find what you need and fast? How has SchoolBench made your life easier? What else would you like SchoolBench to do?

If you have a success story you would like to share with the SchoolBench community, drop us a line.

By sharing you could win a Gold Class movie voucher for two, redeemable in your state.