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Panel: Restrict access to face-check software

Associated Press • Oct 28, 2013 at 11:50 AM

Non-law enforcement personnel would have to obtain written permission from the head of Ohio’s criminal investigations agency before gaining access to technology that identifies suspects through facial-recognition matches with drivers’ license photos, under recommendations released Friday by a committee studying access to state databases frequently tapped by police.

   The value of the technology should also be promoted to the public, such as its use to crack down on identity theft, according to the report from a task force convened by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

   DeWine said he will implement all of the recommendations, including creating committees to monitor the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway, a database that gives police, court officials and others near instantaccess to drivers’ licenses, vehicle registrations, the state sex offender database and computerized criminal histories.

   DeWine convened the task force earlier this year after concerns arose about the unpublicized adoption of facial recognition software in June. He expanded the committee’s work to look at the entire gateway and issues around security and access rules.

   “We take misuse of this search capability seriously,” DeWine said in remarks about the technology in August.

   In other recommendations, the committee said DeWine’s office should create a policy to determine how long gateway search records are maintained. No time is mandated now. The panel also wants to see mandatory and standardized training for users of the gateway database, beyond general training new police officers receive.

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