Kokua Line: Hawaii not among 21 states with FBI photo-search agreements
Question: The Washington Post reported over the weekend that federal authorities “have turned state driver’s license databases into a facial-recognition gold mine, scanning through millions of Americans’ photos without their knowledge or consent” and have made DMVs “the bedrock of an unprecedented surveillance infrastructure.”
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Question: The Washington Post reported over the weekend that federal authorities “have turned state driver’s license databases into a facial-recognition gold mine, scanning through millions of Americans’ photos without their knowledge or consent” and have made DMVs “the bedrock of an unprecedented surveillance infrastructure.” The story said 21 states have agreements with the FBI about this, but it didn’t list the states. Is Hawaii one?
Answer: No, Hawaii is not among states that have partnered with the FBI on FACE Services requests, nor is it negotiating to do so, according to a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office issued last month. That report, which you can read at 808ne.ws/gaoreport, says the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI must do more to ensure privacy and accuracy when using facial recognition technology in investigations. Unlike mugshot databases of people who have been arrested, driver’s license databases contain photos of people who have never been accused of a crime.
The GAO report was cited in the Washington Post story you mentioned, which was published Sunday (808ne.ws/wapo). The story also cited public records obtained by Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology.
FACE stands for Facial Analysis, Comparison and Evaluation. Figure 2 of the GAO report shows that as of May, 21 states plus the District of Columbia allow the FBI to scan driver’s license photos as long as the FACE Services request is relevant to a criminal investigation. Another 11 states were negotiating with FBI to do so; 10 states (including Hawaii) had no negotiations underway, and eight prohibited facial recognition.
That’s not to say, however, that Hawaii’s data is completely off-limits; requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.
“Honolulu does not give the federal government broad access to our driver license database. Individuals representing particular entities, mainly law enforcement, must request access in writing for a particular reason, which must be reviewed and approved before information is released,” said Sheri Kajiwara, director of the city Department of Customer Services, which administers driver’s licensing.
Kajiwara answered your question on deadline, so we’ll have to follow to up to find out how many such requests are made and how frequently they are granted. But as to your direct question: No, Hawaii is not among the 21 states.
Q: Do the homeless sweeps have to be done during daytime?
A: No. The city’s schedule, which is posted a day in advance, lists pre-dawn enforcement of stored property and sidewalk nuisance ordinances. For example, enforcement was scheduled in Waikiki for today from 3 to 5:30 a.m.
I recently went to our local market to pick up a couple of small items. There were no little shopping baskets in which to put my purchases. An employee said that they’d had about 40 baskets the month before, but only four remained. Shoppers come without bags and use the baskets to take their purchases to their cars and never return the baskets. A friend said she had a similar experience at our local drugstore. These shoppers who “steal” the baskets are so inconsiderate of other shoppers and cause businesses to replace these baskets at a cost that will be passed on to all shoppers, even the considerate ones. Enough already! — Gary
Mahalo to the “soccer dad” who offered a quick assist when my car sputtered as I was trying to leave Central Oahu Regional Park following my daily walk. I am sorry I didn’t get your name and thank you for preventing me from blocking traffic. — A reader
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