Universiteit Leiden

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Classroom scanners to be switched off

The Executive Board has decided that the classroom scanners (people counters) installed by Leiden University during the coronavirus period at the entrance to buildings and teaching rooms to count how many people are present in an area will be switched off until further notice.

According to the Executive Board, this decision to take a time-out has been prompted by the privacy concerns that have arisen. President of the Executive Board, Annetje Ottow, commented, ‘We regret that staff and students have experienced concern and we have learned from this that we need to handle issues relating to privacy with even greater care.’  

Annetje Ottow: ‘We have today received a letter from the University Council (UR), in which the UR also draws our attention to the unrest that has arisen, and “not only relating to actual privacy, but also to the sense of privacy”. We take these concerns of students and staff very seriously and have consequently decided to switch the scanners off.’ 

‘This will give us time to have a careful external audit of the system carried out to ensure extra security safeguards. As students and staff have doubts about the system, we believe it is important to have a time-out and an external review of the system. We also wish to hold further discussions as soon as possible with those students and staff who have concerns.’ 

The classroom scanners were purchased in 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic, in consultation with the UR, and with a view to the safety and health of students and staff. The scanners count the number of people in an area. Given the current restrictive corona measures, this is important for the health and safety of those present. 

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