Hangzhou No. 11 Middle School student surveillance
Occurred: May 2018
The installation of a 'smart classroom behaviour management system' which analyses students to make sure they are paying attention triggered a backlash from students, parents, and privacy advocates.
Jointly developed by Hikvision and Hangzhou No. 11 Middle School, the system's 'wisdom eyes' scan students’ faces every 30 seconds to identify seven types of emotions and six types of behaviour, with students receiving a real-time attentiveness score. Teacher display screens issue notifications about which students were inattentive twenty minutes into each class.
The Hangzhou school vice principal said that after a month-long trial, students had begun to accept the monitoring and had improved their behaviour. But the action resulted in debate on the value and effectiveness on the system, and others like it. It also triggered a backlash from students, parents and privacy advocates, leading to programme being stalled.
Article 19 (2021). Emotional Entanglement: China’s emotion recognition market and its implications for human rights (pdf)
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Published: February 2023
Last updated: November 2023