In 2011, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) began running face recognition searches on mug shots. In 2013, it enrolled photos from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration into the database, a measure that does not appear to have received any media coverage. The database, the Maryland Image Repository System (MIRS), includes over 7 million driver’s license and other MVA photos and over 3 million mug shots of “known offenders” (011105). Maryland law enforcement can also request searches of the FBI’s mug shot database of 24.9 million photos. Many Maryland law enforcement agencies can access MIRS, including the Maryland State Police and the Baltimore City Police Department (010949). The system is also open to agencies outside of Maryland. African Americans are likely overrepresented in the system; in Maryland, they are arrested at a rate 75% higher than their population share. It’s unclear if the DPSCS “scrubs” its mug shot database to eliminate people who were never charged, had charges dropped or dismissed, or who were found innocent.
DPSCS did not produce a use policy in response to our records request. In addition, according to DPSCS, “[t]he MIRS system “has not been audited” in its five years of operation (008906).
The DPSCS system uses NEC and Cognitec face recognition algorithms (008892).
Sources and Notes: DPSCS, GAO, Maryland State Police, U.S. Census (Last updated: June 2018). 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.