Iowa’s face recognition system is owned by the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT). In 2014, the Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS) signed an agreement with the DOT, wherein the DPS would pay for an upgrade to the DOT’s face recognition system and in exchange gain access to it (008661). This agreement allows authorized DPS personnel to run face recognition searches on Iowa’s 13 million driver’s licenses and other DOT photos. According to a 2016 report by the Government Accountability Office, the FBI can also request searches of Iowa’s driver’s license photos (GAO).
According to DPS, personnel need reasonable suspicion of criminal activity before running a face recognition search (016853). However, DPS “has not yet adopted a final policy” governing law enforcement face recognition searches on the grounds that it is waiting to determine “what uses may be accurate or inaccurate, reliable or unreliable, appropriate or inappropriate” (016854, 011911).
The DOT system uses a MorphoTrust face recognition algorithm (008661).
Sources and Notes: DPS, GAO (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.