U.K. schools are now installing spying software in RESTROOMS
02/14/2024 // Olivia Cook // Views

Some educational institutions in the United Kingdom have started installing sensors with "spying" software that "actively listen" to pupils as part of an attempt to crack down on vaping, bullying and rowdiness in school restrooms and other areas. This measure has created a significant rift in the debate over privacy rights.

Schools Week reported that the devices have detection sensors with unlimited customization. The sensors can be programmed to listen for certain keywords through machine learning algorithms, which trigger alerts to chosen staff members.

"It aims to provide an additional layer of security against threats like bullying or sexual assault in these areas – reinforcing a safe school environment… to enhance safety, not monitor everyday conversations," said Andrew Jenkins, a spokesperson for Triton, which makes the 3D Pro sensor being installed in schools.

"The sensor has 10 built-in keywords, such as 'Help me' and 'Stop it.' School leaders can also add 10 'customizable' keywords to listen for. When triggered, staff will receive an alert via SMS text message, email, App Push notifications. Nothing is saved or recorded," Jenkins explained.

Similarly, the HALO Smart Sensors, made by the U.S. company IPVideo (owned by Motorola Solutions) come "pre-loaded with five keyword phrases and schools can request to include others."

HALO sensor seller Millgate Manager Jon Glover explained: "After artificial intelligence (AI) learns different pronunciations of new keywords, the software is updated so these words can be detected by all HALO sensors in schools nationwide."

In addition, the HALO device uses an algorithm to automatically assess an environment and "send an alert when vaping is detected. It can differentiate between vaping, vaping with THC or tetrahydrocannabinol and intentionally masking vaping behavior – when someone tries to hide their vaping activity by spraying aerosols, like cologne, to cover up the distinct smell of marijuana or other vaping smells."

According to Glover, more than 1,500 U.S. school districts have been using HALO Smart Sensors and added that between 30 and 40 have been sold in the U.K. primary and secondary schools, as well as colleges.

The 3C-PC version of the sensor can also count how many people are in a room and issue an alert if it gets too noisy or it detects gunshots.

Schools Week also reported that two-thirds of teachers said they had found pupils vaping or with vaping equipment when surveyed last year. One in five said the youngest pupil caught was under 12. (Related: Vaping dangers: Study reveals second-hand smoke from e-cigarette contains 22 times the safe level of certain toxins.)

The latest research by public health charity Action on Smoking and Health, released in June 2023, found that in March/April 2023, the proportion of 11- to 17-year-olds experimenting with vaping had grown by 50 percent year on year – from one in 13 to one in nine.

A gross violation of kids' privacy in schools

"Secretly monitoring school bathrooms is a gross violation of children's privacy and would make pupils and parents deeply uncomfortable," said Big Brother Watch Legal and Policy Officer Madeleine Stone.

"No school should consider spying on children's private conversations and doing so is highly likely to be unlawful. This misguided surveillance poses a clear safeguarding risk and should be allowed nowhere near U.K. schools," Stone added.

Center for Trustworthy Technology Chief Executive Kay Firth-Butterfield, said parents should be asked for consent first. However, a representative for anti-child vaping organization Schoolwatch said schools did not need parental permission because personal information was not being stored.

Visit Surveillance.news for more stories about violations of privacy.

Watch this video to learn where surveillance devices, such as hidden cameras, are hidden in a bathroom.

This video is from the Daily Videos channel on Brighteon.com.

More related stories:

Dallas school district installs AI spying, surveillance systems to keep an eye on students.

British Education chief wants to BAN students from using phones.

Most Brits feel they are victims of “sonic snooping,” and cybersecurity experts believe they’re right.

Sources include:







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