Today, it was revealed in The Cincinnati Enquirer that despite promises made months ago, the Attorney General has failed to reduce access or make other security enhancements to his facial recognition software, which allows government officials to compare photos of Ohioans to a database of all Ohio driver’s license photos.
Despite public promises to fix the problem and recommendations by a task force, 26,500 people around Ohio and the country still have access to the database today – the same number of people who had access when the program launched over six months ago in June 2013. DeWine’s database remains the least secure in the country.
When the major holes in security were originally revealed by the Enquirer, David Pepper, Democratic candidate for Attorney General, laid out his own plan to secure the facial recognition system based on national best practices.
“In the 21st century, the Attorney General should be someone who actually grasps the importance of privacy and data security, and fights to protect them,” said Peter Koltak, Communications Director for Pepper for Attorney General. “Pepper’s plan to fix the facial recognition software shows that that Ohioans can trust him to be a watchdog for their privacy while also giving local law enforcement the tools it needs to crack down on crime.”
Pepper’s plan calls for restricting access to facial recognition software to a small, highly-trained team of law enforcement officials, placing controls on the software’s usage and track all search requests, requiring an outside audit of the software’s security, providing permanent accountability and outside oversight, and increasing transparency through regular public reports. Unlike DeWine’s continued delays, Pepper’s plan—including reducing access—could have been implemented almost immediately.
Click here to read Pepper’s facial recognition plan.