Utah DPS faces tough questions over use of facial recognition tech

Stock image | Photo by Pixinoo/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Public Safety faced more scrutiny over its use of facial recognition technology on citizens and sharing that info with federal authorities.

According to a report from Fox13Now, the disclosure of the system by Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology that was reported on by Fox 13 earlier this year, has prompted alarm from lawmakers concerned about privacy rights. At Wednesday’s hearing, the Government Operations Interim Committee grilled Utah DPS Commissioner Jess Anderson about it.

The facial recognition system has been in place since 2010, scanning driver license photos to find a wanted person. When federal agencies like the FBI or ICE ask for it, the state will run a search and an analyst in the Statewide Information and Analysis Center will verify the return images and then provide any positive matches to the law enforcement agency.

But Anderson insisted that it was for criminal investigations only.

“There is a crime that has occurred. There is an investigation that is happening,” he told the committee.

Those include violent crimes and drug trafficking. Anderson insisted the system was not used for immigration agents to “round everyone up.”

But members of the committee were troubled by the fact that every single Utahn with a driver license or student learning permit has had their face scanned repeatedly to search for one person. The federal government was the biggest user of the system, more than 80% of the time.

Read the full story here:  Fox13Now.com

Written by BEN WINSLOW, Fox13Now.com

Copyright 2019, KSTU. A Tribune broadcasting station

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