In 2001, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) launched the Face Analysis Comparison & Examination System (FACES) (013980). It searches over 33 million faces, including 22 million Florida driver’s license and ID photos and over 11 million law enforcement photos (014736, 014739). Florida law enforcement can also search the FBI’s database of 24.9 million mug shots (GAO).
The FBI has not signed an MOU to let its FACE Services unit search the PCSO system. In an apparent workaround, FBI’s Florida field offices can search PCSO’s system and are among the 243 local, state, and federal agencies that run close to 8,000 searches per month (014396). Asked if PCSO audits searches for misuse, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri replied, “No, not really.” The Pinellas County Public Defender’s Office reports that PCSO has never disclosed use of face recognition in Brady evidence.
FACES users aren’t required to have reasonable suspicion to run a search. The manual encourages officers to use biometric identification “whenever practical” (014375). The system does not allow real-time face recognition from video, but this is not codified in its use manuals.
FACES uses a MorphoTrust algorithm (013791).
Sources and Notes: PCSO, Interviews (Sheriff Gualtieri, Public Defender Dillinger), GAO, Washington Post (Last updated: September 2016). You can review our scorecard criteria in the Methodology section. Numerical citations, e.g. (123456), refer to official records available by clicking "View Documents" below.