Ohio Secretly Using Facial Recognition Technology

...which your state probably uses, too

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 27, 2013 12:38 PM CDT

(Newser) – Ohio has been using new facial-recognition technology to aid in law enforcement for nearly three months—without mentioning it to residents, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. State Attorney General Mike DeWine says he didn't believe a public announcement was necessary, given that 26 states already use similar systems, he tells the paper. The technology, which has been used some 2,600 times since June, can identify people by matching uploaded photos—from security cameras, for instance—to driver's licenses or mug shots. It then presents up to a dozen of the closest matches from a database of 21 million photos.

DeWine wasn't informed when the system went live in early June, "but I wasn't concerned," he notes. "If we find something (wrong), we would change it, and if we find something alarming, we would shut it down." Now, officials are reviewing and updating policies surrounding the system; the ACLU wants it shut down in the meantime, the Raw Story reports. The AG held a press conference yesterday to address the issue. "You're going to save lives," he said, per the Toledo Blade. "For us not to do this would be a dereliction of our duty to the people of the state of Ohio to protect them."

In this Feb. 5, 2013, file photo, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine answers questions during a news conference at the Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Richfield, Ohio.
In this Feb. 5, 2013, file photo, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine answers questions during a news conference at the Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Richfield, Ohio.   (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
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