State officials refute reports of sharing drivers’ license data

Jul 8, 2019, 7:02 PM | Updated: 8:59 pm
(Photo: KSL file)
(Photo: KSL file)

SALT LAKE CITY – What’s real and what’s not?  State public safety officials say recent reports showing that Utah has been improperly sharing face recognition data with agencies like the FBI and ICE are wildly inaccurate.  Still, some elected officials say they’re very concerned with what they read.

The Washington Post is reporting there have been more than 390 thousand facial recognition searches across the country since 2011, and that the FBI and ICE got a lot of this information from driver’s license pictures all over the country.  They cited that there have been over a thousand of these searches in Utah just between 2015 and 2017.

Currently, federal law enforcement agencies are allowed to ask for information from the Driver’s License Division in Utah, however, Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox says there are strict rules law enforcement need to follow to get this data.

Cox says, “What we have been told is that it’s only in a criminal investigation.  Only when they have a name and a case number,” adding, “Not just opening up the driver’s license files and running willy-nilly through them.”

The Governor’s Office has been getting briefed by DPS on how closely federal agents have been working with the DLD.  The WaPo story says agents have forged “daily working relationships” with DMV workers.

“If the reports are accurate, and I’m not sure they are, that’s my big caveat… if the reports are accurate then we are deeply concerned, and we’re not OK with that,” Cox says.

However, officials with the DPS say this kind of information sharing isn’t actually happening in Utah.

First, they say the part of the state’s facial recognition system that is used by law enforcement isn’t actually managed by the DLD.  They say the Statewide Information and Analysis Center is in charge of that.

Plus, they say there have only been 49 requests from federal agents to SIAC between 2015 and 2017, not the “more than 1,000” that has been reported, and they say every one of those requests were connected to active investigations.

Representative Brian King says he was furious when he first read the national reports and he hopes that the articles are wrong.  However, he says since the questions have been raised, he’d like to have more answers about how much information the FBI and ICE have been given.

“Those stories are significant enough that we need to get to the bottom of this,” King says.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Politics + Government

US President Joe Biden discusses funding for the "Hudson Tunnel Project" at the West Side Rail Yard...
Kevin Liptak, MJ Lee, Jeremy Diamond and Paula Reid, CNN

FBI finds no classified documents at Biden’s Delaware vacation home

Reporters positioned in the coastal community observed black sport utility vehicles and sedans arriving to the home mid-morning.
18 hours ago
Watershed Enhancement Trust, which aims to get water back to the lake. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret ...
Amie Schaeffer

$40M Great Salt Lake trust beginning work with newly formed council

The council will assist the trust as it looks for solutions to improve lake water levels.
18 hours ago
Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks at an annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish ...
Kate Sullivan and Kylie Atwood, CNN

Nikki Haley expected to announce presidential run in Charleston on Feb. 15

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is expected to announce her intention to run for President in a few weeks.
18 hours ago
A bill that could make its way to the Utah legislature in the 2023 session would require school dis...
Mark Jones

Potential redesign of new Utah State Flag emphasizes Native American tribes

Sen. Dan McCay (R-Riverton) is sponsoring a bill that would call for a slight redesign of the new Utah State Flag.
2 days ago
A pair of bills in the Utah Legislature address if and how Utah teens could use social media. One w...
Lindsay Aerts

Bill would require parental permission for Utah teens to use social media

Two bills circulating at the 2023 Utah Legislative Session involve social media, parents, and their teens. A group of tech CEOs opposes one.
2 days ago
Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., departs after attending a House GOP conference meeting on Capitol Hill ...
Manu Raju and Melanie Zanona, CNN

George Santos wants off of his committees until issues are resolved

Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia told CNN that it was Santos' decision that he made on his own to "abstain" from the committees.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
State officials refute reports of sharing drivers’ license data