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MIT Technology Review

This company is giving away face recognition software to K-12 schools

RealNetworks launched a website today that allows schools in North America to download and implement its facial recognition software for free.

The trial: Called SAFR, the tech is currently being tested at a school in Seattle that the kids of the founder, Rob Glaser, attend. A pilot program is also being planned for the state of Wyoming later this year.

What it does: The program helps administrators monitor who is coming onto campus. For the trial in Seattle, parents of children at the school registered their faces with the software. They can unlock a gate at the school by smiling at a surveillance camera.

The controversy: Glaser sees his software as a way to improve safety in schools without getting into the touchy subject of gun control legislation. But it’s likely to find itself in the middle of another hot-button debate, over whether face recognition tech needs to be regulated and perhaps reined in. “I personally agree you can overdo school surveillance,” Glaser told Wired. “But I also agree that, in a country where there have been so many tragic incidents in schools, technology that makes it easier to keep schools safer is fundamentally a good thing.”