AG’s Facial Recognition Task Force Releases Recommendations



(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s Facial Recognition Task Force released a report today containing recommendations for the state’s facial-recognition system.

The task force was empaneled following last year’s review of Ohio’s facial-recognition software, which found no evidence of misuse. The panel was selected to advise Yost on how to maintain the system as an effective tool for law enforcement while protecting privacy and civil liberties.

“Facial-recognition technology is a tool to develop leads – it’s a place where police work begins, not where it ends,” Yost said. “This report gives us the guidance to provide law enforcement with necessary tools, as well as needed guardrails to protect Ohioans.”

The task force met eight times and discussed several topics, including who should have access to the system, what images should be in the system; how the system should be audited and maintained; and racial and gender concerns associated with the accuracy and reliability of the technology.

The report notes, “The task force appreciates the opportunity to engage early in a long-term, consequential conversation on the evolution of facial recognition as an investigative tool for Ohio law enforcement. This is a pivotal time to consider structure and protocols to build public trust and confidence in powerful technology that has limitations and can be easily misunderstood.”

The panel also compared Ohio’s facial-recognition software to other states and previewed software from a new vendor that will provide the technology to the attorney general’s office in 2021.

As a result of those discussions, the task force made 13 recommendations. The report states, “It is our intent that the task force recommendations balance people’s privacy interests with the need for public safety while providing scrutiny and increased oversight.”

A review of those recommendations is underway by the attorney general’s office.

Members of the task force included:

  • Sara Andrews, executive director, Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission
  • John Eklund, Ohio Senate
  • Jeff LaRe, Ohio House of Representatives
  • Paula Hicks-Hudson, Ohio House of Representatives
  • Forrest Thompson, prosecutor, Medina County
  • Patrick Clark, assistant state public defender, Ohio Public Defender’s Office
  • Anne Dean, assistant registrar, Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles
  • Matthew Reger, judge, Wood County Court of Common Pleas
  • Terri Enns, professor, The Ohio State University, and a member of ACLU Ohio
  • Dennis Hirsch, professor, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and Capital University Law School
  • Joel King Jr., NAACP
  • Larry Price, NAACP
  • Peter Glenn-Applegate, assistant U.S. attorney, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Tom Stein, deputy general counsel, CLEAR
  • Steve Robinette, Grove City councilman
  • Monica Moll, director of public safety, The Ohio State University
  • Brian DiMasi, senior corporate counsel, Safelite Auto Glass
  • Jeremy Hansford, IT manager, Ohio State Highway Patrol
  • Brian Ray, professor, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
  • Phil Stammitti, sheriff, Lorain County
  • Timothy Pierce, appellate unit chief, Franklin County Public Defender’s Office
  • Judy Wolford, prosecutor, Pickaway County
  • Carol O’Brien, chief counsel and deputy attorney general for law enforcement, Ohio Attorney General’s Office
  • Joseph Morbitzer, superintendent, BCI
  • Heinz von Eckartsberg, assistant superintendent, BCI
  • Beth Owens, director of identification, BCI
  • Jill Small, OHLEG director, BCI
  • Lisa Sprague, administrative assistant, BCI
  • Douglas Dumolt, director of law enforcement operation, Ohio Attorney General’s Office

The full report is available online.

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