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AG Yost Cuts Law Enforcement Access to Facial Recognition Database

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Dave Yost discusses facial recognition technology.

Attorney General Dave Yost is shutting off direct access to the state's facial recognition database of driver’s license photos for thousands of local law enforcement officers. The order comes after his office reviewed how and who was using that database. 

Yost said the database was not abused or used for mass surveillance or dragnets by federal officials, which has reportedly happened in a few states to find undocumented immigrants.

But Yost is still cutting off access for about 4,500 local officers till they can be trained about the system’s flaws, requiring that they instead work through state investigators at the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

"Everything is being done well. I want it to be done better," Yost said. "I want to make sure all of our law enforcement and partners that are using this tool are using it properly."

In the last two years, Ohio’s database was searched more than 11,000 times, nearly always by local law enforcement agencies. Only 116 searches came from Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.