20 hours ago
Move to digitize Iowa sex offender mug shots raises privacy concerns
"All of Iowa's more than 5,600 registered sex offenders could soon have their mug shots digitized and saved to a database that law enforcement officials could match to photos from an array of other sources, such as security cameras and Facebook, 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 that grant until spring.
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.”"
0:23 PM, Dec 16, 2012
The Register editorial: Child abuse registry still has fundamental flaws
"Recommended changes only tinker with a list that can cost people their jobs without a day in court"