New Tech Makes Schools and Summer Camps Safer

Written by Jason Simpkins
Posted August 2, 2019

If you ask me, facial recognition technology is getting a bum rap.

It’s almost like every headline I see is a fear-inducing scare-piece about how some dark entity is going to steal your face.

What they’re going to do with it, I don’t know.

I mean, I hate to break it to the people behind these stories, but the government already has my picture.

The state of Maryland gets a freshly-updated photo every time I renew my driver's license. And the federal government has had my passport picture on file since I was 10.

Beyond that, my face has been floating around the Internet ever since I signed up for Facebook in college.

It’s on LinkedIn, too.

In fact, it’s even on this website, at the very top of this article.

So generally speaking, people know what I look like.

And I’m okay with that.

It hasn’t caused me any problems so far.

And judging by the number of people using their faces to unlock their phones, the general public doesn’t seem to have had any, either.

Maybe that’s because facial recognition is actually a convenient asset.

In fact, as we speak, summer camps across the country now let parents use facial-recognition services to receive photos of their child without having to sift through hundreds of photos that their kid isn’t in.

Waldo Photos Inc. is one such service provider. It’s now offered at more than 150 summer camps, and is now making its way into schools and sports leagues, too.

Camps either pay for Waldo themselves and offer it to parents, or they ask parents to pay a nominal rate of $1 to $2 per day. Parents then submit a reference photo of their child and AI detects any matches. The images are stored until a parent asks for them to be deleted.

What’s the downside to that?

There really isn’t one that I can find.

In fact, all I see is a way to make camps and schools safer.

Indeed, nothing in America is more frightful than the school shooting epidemic.

The names now tied to these tragedies is embarrassingly long: Columbine, Newtown, Parkland…

The list goes on.

Unfortunately, solutions to this problem have come up woefully short.

Lockdowns, badges, bulletproof backpacks, giving teachers guns…

These aren’t adequate answers.

But facial recognition can go a long way towards solving this crisis.

It’s already being used in pilot programs, giving school districts the ability to catalog photos of students and adults who are and aren’t permitted on school grounds. If an intruder is caught on camera, they can be immediately identified and apprehended.

That alone is a tremendous safety asset, but this technology actually goes even further.

A company I recently recommended to my Wealth Warrior subscribers doesn’t just identify faces — it identifies weapons.

Its software has 500 types of weapons in its database. It can tell if a person is carrying a gun, knife, or even a bomb.

It can even identify mood.

VSBLTY school shooter cut

And here’s what’s really interesting: The camera it uses to search crowds can be hidden away in digital ads.

This is a crucial advantage because criminals can always duck away or hide their faces from a camera they see out in the open.

But if that same camera is completely clandestine, it could capture the necessary information without the assailant even knowing.

Like I said, this very same technology is already making its way into schools.

But it’s also already being deployed at major events like the Super Bowl.

That’s right.VSBLTY Mercedes Benz Stadium

In February, this very same company was asked to deploy its products at the Super Bowl.

More than 70,000 fans traversed the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia to tailgate and watch the big game.

As they did so, they passed inconspicuous kiosks — digital ads designed to attract attention.

But what these passers-by didn’t know was that these signs also secretly harbored video cameras and security software. They combed the entire crowd for weapons and persons of interest.

There’s no question that we have a genuine security crisis in this country.

But as we saw (again) at the most recent shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, it’s not facial recognition technology.

To the contrary, facial recognition technology is actually the solution.

Fight on,

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Jason Simpkins

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Jason Simpkins is Assistant Managing Editor of the Outsider Club and Investment Director of The Wealth Warrior, a financial advisory focused on security companies and defense contractors. For more on Jason, check out his editor's page. 

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