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Published: Friday, 10/25/2013 - Updated: 2 years ago

Ohio face-check software access extends out of state


COLUMBUS — Hundreds of officers working for law enforcement agencies outside of the state have access to Ohio’s facial recognition software, according to a newspaper analysis.

A total of 26,500 people in and out of Ohio with have access to the data, including more than 350 people who work outside the state, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported today based on a review of records provided by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

The majority of non-Ohioans with access are with the Pennsylvania state police and northern Kentucky police departments, the paper reported.

RELATED ARTICLE: Ohio A.G. DeWine defends facial recognition program, August, 2013

The facial recognition software allows users to match images of possible suspects or victims with photos from Ohio drivers’ licenses.

About 1,030 people with access to the data are federal employees from offices both inside and outside Ohio, according to the report. They include one user from the U.S. Department of Education’s Chicago branch, one from the Defense Department’s finance arm and one who works in security in the State Department’s Missouri office.

The ability of law enforcement personnel outside Ohio to access the software is not surprising given how closely the state works with counterparts in other states, Lisa Hackley, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Mike DeWine, said today.

A report from a task force convened by DeWine and scheduled for release today was expected to include a review of the use of facial recognition software. Ohio police have been able to use facial recognition since June, with some critics calling it intrusive.

For the past few weeks, the task force has been studying security and protocols for the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway. The searchable system gives police and other investigators near-instant access to records including drivers’ licenses, vehicle registrations, the sex offender registry, and the computerized criminal history at the state’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

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