Utah officials refuted reports Monday that the Utah Department of Public Safety allowed Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to mine Utahns' driver's license photos using facial recognition technology.
Gov. Gary Herbert and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox were "very concerned" about reports that ICE and the FBI were using the photos to form the foundation for a facial recognition database, according to the governor's office. But they say they were told by the public safety department, which oversees the state Driver License Division, that such reports were inaccurate.
Herbert believes in respecting residents' privacy and is committed to ensuring that the state's facial recognition system will only be used for law enforcement purposes and never against law-abiding Utahns, according to his office.
"The stories over the weekend did make it seem as if there was batches of information and photos over everyone being sent" to the federal agencies, said public safety department spokeswoman Marissa Cote. "That's not the case."