New York is the first state to temporarily ban facial recognition in schools

The law enacting the ban came after Lockport City School District drew criticism for using facial recognition across all its K-12 institutions. It was meant to quickly spot sex offenders, unauthorized staff or other possible threats, but opponents saw it as an attack on privacy and freedom that used children as test subjects. It could be used to punish kids for minor violations, for example.

It’s relatively easy for New York to suspend use during a pandemic, when students frequently have to wear masks or learn at home. Still, this could set a precedent that leads other states to ban or limit facial recognition in schools even when it’s safe for normal classes to resume.