The Pennsylvania Justice Network (JNET) manages the face recognition system used by police throughout Pennsylvania. The system is owned by the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association; as a non-profit entity, however, it is not subject to Pennsylvania's public record law, potentially making much of the information about face recognition use by police unavailable to the public. The system launched in 2006. In 2013, it gained access to the state driver’s license photo database (016734). In April 2014, the system could search over 34 million driver’s license and other ID photos, and over four million mug shots (010750). The system is open “to any municipal, county, state or federal law enforcement agency” in the state; over 500 agencies use it (013787, 013785). JNET has not made its policy face recognition use available to the public. Its internal manual does not indicate if reasonable suspicion is required to run a search, but permits searches of witnesses (010845). JNET has stated that it conducts triennial audits of agencies with access to its system, but provided no records of such audits in response to our request (016857, 010955–010956).
The system has been used for public surveillance. In Cheltenham Township, “[o]fficers took photos of the attendees in the parking lot” at the court hearing of an alleged gang member, and used face recognition to identify “other gang members” (016738). African Americans are likely overrepresented in the database; they are arrested at a rate 206% higher than their share of the state population.
The JNET system uses Cognitec, NEC, and MorphoTrust algorithms.
Sources and Notes: JNET, GAO, Pennsylvania State Police, Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Reporting System, U.S. Census (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.