Failed to pass both houses, will not become law this session

This bill would require the Wisconsin Department of Justice to award grants to schools to acquire proactive firearm detection software. A number of companies have responded to recent horrific mass shootings by touting technology that can ostensibly detect people with guns. Two companies in particular have attracted a lot of press attention for their products: one that makes AI-enhanced metal detectors, and another that sells video analytics software that “watches” surveillance camera feeds and sounds an alarm when the machine vision thinks it sees a person holding a gun. While such technologies can have their place, we need to think carefully as a society about if, how, and where we want to deploy them.

The ACLU recently released a report, Digital Dystopia: The Danger in Buying What the EdTech Surveillance Industry is Selling,  that dives into the booming multi-billion-dollar education technology (EdTech) surveillance industry and the harmful impacts these invasive, and largely ineffective, products have on students. The report looks at the deceptive marketing claims made by popular EdTech surveillance companies and breaks down how they use educators’ fears and unsubstantiated efficacy claims to falsely convince schools that their products are needed to keep students safe. The report also seeks to highlight the substantial harm surveillance causes to students and gives recommendations for school districts to make better informed decisions about using surveillance technologies.

Specifically, weapon detection surveillance technology claims to be able to analyze video from surveillance cameras to detect and warn schools about the presence of a weapon. However, false hits, such as mistaking a broomstick, three-ring binder, or a Google Chromebook laptop  for a gun or other type of weapon, could result in an armed police response to a school. Sending police into a school with weapons drawn, thinking they are facing an armed student or potential active shooter, could have devastating and even life-threatening impacts on innocent students and school staff.


Senators Wanggard, James; Representatives Callahan, Spiros


Passed one chamber



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