Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Lawmakers, school officials meet over facial recognition technology in schools

Kris Goss, Director of Policy Services for the Montana School Board Association speaks during an Oct. 10, 2022 meeting of the state Economic Affairs Interim Committee. The committee met with a school district that has put in place facial recognition technology, and leading public school associations and agencies.
https://sg001-harmony.sliq.net/00309/Harmony/en/PowerBrowser/PowerBrowserV2/20221003/-1/44877
Kris Goss, Director of Policy Services for the Montana School Board Association speaks during an Oct. 10, 2022 meeting of the state Economic Affairs Interim Committee. The committee met with a school district that has put in place facial recognition technology, and leading public school associations and agencies.

State lawmakers studying facial recognition technology expressed concerns about student privacy when the tech is used in schools. Montana Public Radio reported on at least one case of the technology being used in a school district, prompting lawmakers to meet.

The state Economic Affairs Interim Committee Monday met with a school district that's using facial recognition technology, and leading public school associations and agencies.

Kris Goss, Director of Policy Services for the Montana School Board Association told lawmakers that there are not specific laws that guide facial recognition in schools, but companies must follow more general privacy policies outlined in state and federal laws.

“Compliance means business. And I think this issue of student privacy is on the minds of all of us who advise school districts on a legal basis," Goss said.

Democratic House Rep. Katie Sullivan pointed out the security trade-off this kind of technology requires.

“We get that this technology is useful for safety, right? At the same time, there’s a safety aspect where the kids’ data is being used by a company. Right? And who is that? And are they being appropriate?”

Committee Chair Senator Kenneth Bogner says members will be introducing individual legislation about this technology in the upcoming session.

Facial recognition technology has been put into at least one school district in Montana. The surveillance, characterized as a safety tool, is in use as policy makers in Montana debate how to regulate that kind of technology.