Since June, local and state law enforcement officers have been able to use facial recognition software to match images of possible suspects or victims with Ohio driver’s license photos. Critics called the technology’s use intrusive, and Attorney General Mike DeWine appointed the panel to study whether more protocols were needed for using the software.
He told panel members during their first meeting Tuesday that it makes sense to review not only facial recognition but the full Web-based system, the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
“Now that this working group is here, I think we need to do something that frankly hasn’t been done in 10 years, since (Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway) went into effect,” DeWine said.
The searchable system, used by about 300 Ohio agencies, give police and other investigators nearinstant access to records including driver’s license and vehicle registrations, the sex offender registry and the computerized criminal history at the state’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, BCI superintendent Tom Stickrath said.
There are more than 30,000 approved users, with 10,000 conducted daily, the newspaper reported.
“Everyone agrees it is a valuable law-enforcement tool, and we want to have it available for them, but we need to make sure people’s privacy interests are protected,” said Yvette McGee Brown, one of two former Ohio Supreme Court justices who lead the ninemember working group.
Misusing the system is a fifth-degree felony. The system is available wherever authorities have Internet access, which means users create an electronic footprint that can be tracked in investigations of possible misuse.
The board will meet again Sept. 20 and hopes to hear from users and from information-technology workers who can discuss safeguarding the system against hackers.