SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — If you have a Utah driver’s license, your photo may have been been checked with facial recognition technology by of the Utah Department of Public Safety.
“They absolutely have,” said Marina Lowe, legislative counsel for the Utah ACLU. “All of our faces have been scanned thousands of times.“
She said the database includes not only driver's licenses, but state ID cards.
Disparate groups — the Eagle Forum, Libertas, Americans for Prosperity, and the ACLU — have voiced concerns over privacy, and “guardrails” for the program.
DPS said it uses facial recognition only to identify people in investigations, and for cases of suspected driver’s license fraud.
“People’s rights are not being violated,” Utah Public Safety Commissioner Jess Anderson told 2News. “Your information is not being shared with other people.”
Anderson said the technology has led investigators to detect more than a thousand cases of fraud within several years.
“This is a law-enforcement tool,“ he said. “It’s much like having your fingerprints on file. It’s much like having your DNA on file.
“In the 10 years of using this, we’ve never had any complaint, meaning no one‘s ever come back and said, ‘Hey, I got picked up for being the wrong guy.’”
Anderson said facial recognition helped identify a mystery man found dead along the freeway last year.
Lowe said the program largely began without state law or rule to spell out parameters for using the technology.
“Five million photos that exist in the drivers’ license database, which for the most part make up innocent people who have not committed any crime, or are not being accused of a crime,” she said, “are having their faces searched on a regular basis.”