By MIKE WISER
DES MOINES — Each of the more than 5,600 registered sex offenders in Iowa could soon have their photos digitized and saved to a database that law enforcement officials could then match to everything from security camera images to Facebook photos with a few mouse clicks.
The Iowa Department of Public Safety is in the middle of a program to equip every Iowa sheriff’s department with an electronic signature pad, laptop computer and digital camera that can support the high-resolution data to feed through facial recognition software.
“Biometrics is really coming up to play a big part in law enforcement and investigations and things like that,” said Terry Cowman, special agent in charge of the state’s sex offender registry program.
“What’s interesting about facial rec is it is kind of the future of where we’re at.”
He has about $110,000 to pay for the hardware through a federal grant. Now he’s seeking another $180,000 to pay for the software and training that would allow the state to digitize roughly 10,000 photos, but he won’t receive word on the grant until spring.
Still, the move to digitize and analyze faces of sex offenders has some concerned about what comes next.
“You always start with sex offenders because nobody is going to stick up for sex offenders,” said Rep. Chip Baltimore, R-Boone, a lawyer who chairs the House Judiciary committee. “The question is where it goes from there.”
- So this idiot, who is one of those who are running this country, is admitting this? Well, we all knew this is how they feel, but he's admitting it. If he's willing to do this to one group, I'm sure he'll be more than happy to eliminate the rights of other groups as well, as long as it doesn't affect himself of course.
|This is what it's becoming!|
More than a decade ago, the city of Tampa, Fla., piloted a facial recognition system that scanned faces of people in crowds and compared them to photos of criminals in their database. The program ran for about two years and was scrapped in 2003.
“Sex offenders don’t have the same rights as other people because they already have been convicted of a crime,” said Ben Stone, executive director of the Iowa branch of the American Civil Liberties Union.
- So what about all the other criminals who have also been convicted of a crime? And it appears the people who are suppose to be standing up for the rights of people, the ACLU, isn't!
Dealing with convicts makes it easier for government to get around civil liberties concerns than if it, say, wanted to run a recognition scan on everyone who had their picture taken for a driver’s license or other form of state photo identification, Stone said.
- Oh, it's coming. Eventually everybody will be scanned and have their DNA taken from birth. Wait and see.
Chris Sumner, co-founder and secretary of the U.K.-based Online Privacy Foundation, focuses most of his work on the type of data people voluntarily share online through applications such as Facebook and Twitter and how that data is repackaged and sold.
- Move to digitize Iowa sex offender mug shots raises privacy concerns
- Iowa implementing face recognition program to track sex offenders