FC: Local cops in Pennsylvania get "JNet" police photo database

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Thu Jan 23 2003 - 00:07:35 PST

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    From: "Danny Yavuzkurt" <ayavuzkat_private>
    To: <declanat_private>
    Subject: Local cops get access to state database
    Date: Wed, 8 Jan 2003 16:42:05 -0500
    Interesting article from my local newspaper, the Centre Daily Times, today,
    about our county providing all local PDs with access to the Pennsylvania
    Justice Network, which apparently (though I'd never heard of it before) has
    all sorts of information about PA citizens in it, including driver's license
    photos, place of residence, criminal history, etc.. one of the more
    interesting tidbits from the article comes near the end, where they mention
    that they can access the database to find people whose driver's license
    photos resemble the description of suspects for a crime, who they can then
    call in for questioning.. I wonder if this includes facial recognition
    software?.. speculatively, they could get a person to give a police artist
    info on who they think they saw, then compare the created image with the
    database, and find matching faces.. otherwise, I'm kind of puzzled as to how
    they could sort through 10 million faces fast enough to find suspects..
    I guess this, like a lot of (limited) LE databases, is a double-edged
    sword.. they find the suspects faster, get them off the street faster, solve
    crimes faster, but can also find and use information about *anyone* faster..
    of course, they do mention that there are 'repercussions' for anyone using
    it for unauthorized purposes.. but still.. who watches the watchers?.. I'm
    already skeptical about local PD chief Tom King's motives, he's been known
    for supporting public surveillance cameras in downtown State College in the
    past, and seems to have little concern for the public's privacy...
    Posted on Wed, Jan. 08, 2003
    County offers formidable tool to help crimefighters
    By Lara Brenckle
    BELLEFONTE - The Centre County Board of Commissioners agreed Tuesday to let
    the county
    oversee one of the most powerful crime fighting tools of the last decade.
    In approving a memorandum of understanding, Centre County agreed to provide
    local police departments with access to JNet. The program will be overseen
    by the county's criminal justice planning office.
    JNet is the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Justice Network, a secure
    Internet-based system that puts an individual's criminal background,
    driver's license photos and protection-from-abuse orders at an officer's
    Officers can access information statewide from their desktops.
    "What used to take days to request now takes minutes," Bruce Kline, a
    representative from Penn State Police, told the commissioners.
    Gene Lauri, the county's director of criminal justice planning, said most of
    the information accessed through JNet has always been available, just never
    this quickly.
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