Hangzhou No. 11 Middle School student surveillance
Occurred: May 2018
Hangzhou No. 11 Middle School has installed a 'smart classroom behaviour management system', which captures students’ expressions and movements and analyses them to make sure they are paying attention.
Jointly developed by Hikvision and the 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 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.
The Hangzhou school vice principal said that after a month-long trial, students had begun to accept the monitoring and had improved their behaviour.
Hikvision is a state-owned manufacturer and supplier of video surveillance products that has been linked to the surveillance of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China, and under sanctions from the US and EU.
Operator: Hangzhou No. 11 Middle School
Developer: China Electronics Technology Group/Hikvision
Purpose: Assess student attentiveness
Technology: Facial recognition; Emotion recognition; Deep learning; Neural network; Machine learning
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Bias/discrimination - gender, ethnicity; Surveillance; Privacy; Security
Transparency: Governance; Marketing; Privacy
Article 19 (2021). Emotional Entanglement: China’s emotion recognition market and its implications for human rights (pdf)
IPVM (2018). The Hikvision Smart Classroom Behavior Management System
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Published: February 2023