The state’s unannounced use of facial-recognition software blew up in Attorney General Mike DeWine’s face. He recovered by appointing a committee to check how the software is being used, but he missed a good opportunity to bring the public into the process.
It’s not too late for DeWine to do something about this, and he should.
He ignited a controversy in August when he announced that law-enforcement agencies had gone through the state’s database of driver’s license photos with facial-recognition software that could determine whether any photos matched police mug shots. The cross-checks had been going on for several weeks. DeWine had never made public his plans to use this technology, which prompted concerns about its use.
The nine-member review committee held its first meeting Tuesday, and DeWine wasted no time in expanding its responsibilities.
Over the next two months, it is to look at every aspect of the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway, the Internet-based system that allows law-enforcement agencies to share information. The committee’s goal is to make sure that protections of innocent citizens’ privacy are in place.
Why are there no ordinary citizens on the committee? It’s headed by two former justices of the Ohio Supreme Court and consists of judges, a prosecutor, a coroner and law-enforcement leaders. Certainly the committee needs their expertise, but these high-profile Ohioans will be coming at privacy issues from a set of experiences that don’t necessarily mirror those of many Ohioans.
When DeWine announced that he would form the committee, the Ohio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union asked for a seat on it. DeWine ignored the request.
He ought to give the idea another look and appoint someone to the committee from outside the law-enforcement community and criminal justice system.
- Our Opinion: Review of privacy protections should include an ordinary citizen
- Group to review use of facial recognition technology by police
- DeWine defends using driver’s license photos for law enforcement
- Ohio admits facial recognition used to scour state driver’s license database without public knowledge
- Ohio advisory group to review face recognition use by authorities
- Ohio advisory group to review face recognition use