MSP database contains millions of photos of Michigan residents

Published: Mar. 11, 2019 at 6:27 PM EDT
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You might expect the police to have access to your driver's license photo, but what about your social media photos as well?

It's called the Statewide Network of Agency Photos or Snap. Michigan State Police's database of photos.

Millions of them, possibly of you, me and a whole lot of other people in the state of Michigan.

Photos you had no idea law enforcement had access to.

"There maybe an expectation of privacy, I can't say that it is currently illegal because the question has not gone up to the Supreme Court and it has not been addressed. So the question is open as to whether the courts will determine that." said attorney, Edward Hoort.

Edward Hoort has been working in legal services since 1974. Serving as director of legal services of Eastern Michigan for 29 years. Covering 14 counties including Genesee County.

"During that time I specialized in suing the government on behalf of poor people or other people who abuse poor people." Hoort said.

According to Michigan State Police, the department has been using facial recognition technology since 2001.

There are currently 49,750,105 templated faces in the SNAP.

2,708,342 templated photos were added to the SNAP in 2018.

The photos in the database come from photos that are submitted to the SNAP from law enforcement agency Live Scan devices (arrest photographs), the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) and Michigan Department of State (MDOS)."

Nearly 50 million images, close to 40 million more than there are people in the state of Michigan.

Hoort says there are questions about the reliability of facial recognition.

"Especially given the fact that it is for people of color, remarkably inaccurate. It is a question of whether they should be using it at all." Hoort said.