The West Virginia Intelligence Fusion Center (WVIFC) is operated by the state of West Virginia and runs advanced face recognition that is part of a system “open to all federal, state, county, and local agencies” (009944).
The system searches mug shot photos, but it’s unclear what other databases are accessible, how many mug shots are enrolled in the system, and if the WVIFC “scrubs” its mug shot database to eliminate people who were never charged, had charges dropped or dismissed, or who were found innocent. The WVIFC has no publicly available policy governing law enforcement use of face recognition. The internal “Facial Recognition System Policy” is a page and a half long and does not require officers to have a reasonable suspicion before running a search (009959–009960).
In 2012, the WVIFC bought a real-time face recognition system that “[a]utomatically monitor[s] video surveillance footage and other video for instances of persons of interest” (009966). Previously, the WVIFC had told state officials that “automated video processing, search and detection capabilities could provide dramatic payoffs,” and that “WVIFC requires a system with the following minimum capabilities: . . . Ability to automatically detect and extract faces from video” (009971–009972).
“Everyone refers to the Minority Report . . . about how they use facial recognition and iris recognition,” said Thomas Kirk, the director of the WVIFC, in a recent interview. He added: “I actually think that that is the way of the future.”
The WVIFC system was purchased from Tygart Technologies, but it is unclear which company provides the face recognition algorithm used.
Sources and Notes: WVIFC, Tygart, Vocativ (Last Updated: August 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.