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August 30th, 2013 By German Lopez | News | Posted In: News, Privacy, Governor

Governor Concerned About Facial Recognition Program

Kasich says he wants to slow down attorney general’s program

kasich_2Ohio Gov. John Kasich - Photo: Provided

Gov. John Kasich says he wants to slow down Attorney General Mike DeWine’s facial recognition program and work with the Ohio legislature to review if changes are necessary.

“I am concerned about the level of government knowledge about everything about us. I have concerns about the NSA. I have concerns about not using the FISA court. I have concerns about an overzealous group of people that are violating their own rules that have been established,” Kasich told reporters today. “When it comes to this issue, there’s value in it, but I want to slow down and get this right.”

The governor’s comments linked the facial recognition program to federal surveillance programs like the NSA and FISA, which have come under scrutiny in the past few months after leaks unveiled broader snooping and data collection of Americans’ private communications than previously expected.

Kasich said he understands the tools provided by the facial recognition program could be valuable to law enforcement and security, but he added that he wants to ensure people’s rights are being protected.

“When people say I have nothing to hide, that in and of itself, as Peggy Noonan says, begins to erode the First Amendment,” he said.

“You begin worrying about what you say because somebody’s watching you.”

The facial recognition program allows police officers and civilian employees to use a photo to search databases for names and contact information. Previously, law enforcement officials needed a name or address to search such databases.

Shortly after the plan was announced, the American Civil Liberties Union asked DeWine to shut down the program until proper protocols were put in place to protect Ohioans’ rights to privacy.

The program was in place for more than two months and used for 2,677 searches before it was unveiled to the public. In that time span, the program wasn’t reviewed by an outside group.

On Thursday, DeWine appointed a group of judges, law enforcement and prosecutors to review the program’s protocols. The panel has 60 days to come up with recommendations.

 
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