Privacy Press Release

08.31.16

ACLU Cautions Ohio Attorney General on FBI Access to Ohio’s Facial Recognition Database

Privacy glass Ohio

COLUMBUS—The ACLU of Ohio sent a letter to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine urging him to reject a potential agreement with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to provide access to Ohio’s law enforcement database (OHLEG), including the state’s facial recognition data. The letter cites concerns with the FBI’s use of facial recognition technology and the need for public input on such an agreement.

“Letting the FBI into OHLEG would give the federal government access to millions of photographs from sources including drivers’ licenses, criminal mug shots, and corrections photos,” said Gary Daniels, chief lobbyist for the ACLU of Ohio. “The FBI has a history of employing secret mass surveillance, and documented problems with management of facial recognition technology. We question why Ohio would consider giving the FBI even more ability to access personal information, with minimum security and oversight, and with no opportunity for public input.”

A public records request by the ACLU revealed email communications between the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and the FBI regarding access to state law enforcement records. This follows recent news reports that revealed the FBI has been actively obtaining formal permission from numerous states for access to those states’ databases.

“The FBI’s ongoing track record of widespread mass surveillance and blatant disregard for laws and policies meant to protect our privacy should, at the very minimum, give Ohio pause. At the very least, this issue should be discussed around the state so all Ohioans have an opportunity to weigh in on this rapidly-moving expansion of data sharing,” Daniels said.

Read the ACLU of Ohio letter to Attorney General DeWine.

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