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Students, Professors Decry Sensors in Buildings

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Staff members and students protest the use of sensors outside the Lipsius building at Leiden University in the Netherlands in December 2021.

The University of California, San Diego maintains that the live density data captured by the sensors are anonymized and will not be used “for purposes other than space management.”

Credit: Marc de Haan

Officials at the U.K.'s Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) announced earlier this year that sensors would be installed in campus buildings to assess whether they were being used to their full potential.

Although QMUL officials indicated images generated by the sensors would be converted into coordinates that provide real-time data on the number of people in various areas of the buildings so privacy would not be an issue, staff and students remain concerned the sensors are intended for surveillance.

Similar concerns arose in June at the University of California, San Diego, when researchers learned that sensors had been installed in their workplaces as part of the university's Live Density Program.

Electronic Frontier Foundation's Jason Kelley said that nonprofit watchdog has found such sensor data "often ends up being used for disciplinary purposes."

From Nature
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