"Fever-detecting" cameras find ready buyers but do not work


Cameras repurposed as "fever-detecting" aren't designed for and are not very good at detecting infections, but businesses, airlines, major employers, and public officials are nonetheless reacting to the coronavirus pandemic by spending large sums to buy them without understanding their limitations. The systems can detect elevated skin temperatures, but aren't precise enough to be able to identify the cause. In addition, many people who develop COVID-19 don't have fevers. The scanners have not been approved for medical use, their accuracy levels are highly inconsistent, and there are serious concerns about both false positives and false negatives. In addition, the potential expansion of such systems to incorporate detecting heart rate, breathing rate, and blood oxygenation raise health privacy issues. The ACLU recommends ensuring that access should not be denied based solely on temperature screening, that alternative methods of access should be made available, and that screening should always be voluntary.

Writer: Drew Harwell; Jay Stanley
Publication: Washington Post; ACLU


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