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U.K. Schools Are Using Facial Recognition for Student Lunch Payments

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facial scan on student holding lunch tray

Credit: CRB Cunninghams

Nine schools in North Ayrshire in the U.K. have started using facial recognition technology to take lunch payments, citing the lack of touch for COVID safety and increased speed as selling points.

"In a secondary school you have around about a 25-minute period to serve potentially 1,000 pupils. So we need fast throughput at the point of sale," says David Swanston of CRB Cunninghams, which installed the systems.

Swanston told the Financial Times that the system cuts average transaction time to around five seconds per pupil.

Critics have pointed out that installing facial recognition systems in schools could normalize its use elsewhere. Swanston said the system is not connected to an online database, and instead checks faces against an enrypted database of face templates stored on school servers.

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