Utah DPS facing scrutiny over face recognition
03 January 2020 14:19 GMT

Privacy groups — the Eagle Forum, Libertas, Americans for Prosperity, and the ACLU — have voiced concerns after it was claimed that the Utah Department of Public Safety has accessed face recognition data on diving licences.

The reaction is a result of published accounts of the practice of running facial recognition searches, which advocates say violates a person's privacy, including a report from The Washington Post.

DPS has said it uses facial recognition only to identify people in investigations, and for cases of suspected driver’s license fraud.

“People’s rights are not being violated,” Utah Public Safety Commissioner Jess Anderson told 2News. “Your information is not being shared with other people.”

“This is a law-enforcement tool,“ he said. “It’s much like having your fingerprints on file. It’s much like having your DNA on file.

“In the 10 years of using this, we’ve never had any complaint, meaning no one‘s ever come back and said, ‘Hey, I got picked up for being the wrong guy.’”

Anderson said facial recognition helped identify a mystery man found dead along the freeway last year.

Lowe said the program largely began without state law or rule to spell out parameters for using the technology.

“Five million photos that exist in the drivers’ license database, which for the most part make up innocent people who have not committed any crime, or are not being accused of a crime,” she said, “are having their faces searched on a regular basis.”

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