Facial recognition software allows law enforcement to identify people on surveillance pictures or video.
But the technology launched without an announcement, and now the state says it will take a second look to make sure all privacy concerns are addressed.
Attorney General Mike DeWine said Monday that an advisory group made up of judges, prosecutors, public defenders and law enforcement officials will look at not just the facial recognition software but at all the data available to law enforcement to make sure all proper protocols and safeguards are in place.
However, critics are saying all that should have been done well before the new system was put online.
"I think the only mistake was they should have told me the day they turned on the switch,” DeWine told 10TV. “But it's not like it was a secret program, not like a program we hadn't already approved and talked about."
The Attorney General said the new facial recognition software has been online since June through the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway, used by law enforcement agencies more than 2,600 times to help identify people and solve crimes.
"It becomes more accurate, becomes quicker and will save lives," DeWine said.
The facial recognition software now allows law enforcement to take surveillance pictures and match them electronically with drivers’ license photos and police mug shots.
DeWine has come under a storm of criticism for not telling the public when the system went online.
”There are safeguards built in,” added DeWine. “We are comfortable with the safeguards."
"It hasn't been handled appropriately and the larger issue and privacy concerns seem to be a complete afterthought," said Gary Daniels, the associate director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio.
The ACLU is concerned the potential to track people's movements and information is only going to get more intrusive in people's lives.
"This is just another spoke in the wheel of creating a surveillance society," said Daniels.
DeWine says the system is already getting positive results.
"It's that type of ability to go find people, find problems, catch criminals, and over the next months and years, this is going to save lives in the state and protect your and my family," said DeWine.
With a new election year just months away, Democrats are slamming DeWine, calling his actions a dereliction of duty.
DeWine says he will consider and implement any recommendations from the special advisory group in the next 60 days, if they help to safeguard the system.
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