"You don't need to know the name, the date of birth, the social security number. You don't need to know anything," says Sean Mullin, president of the developer, BI2 Technologies. "You simply need to ask them, 'Look in the camera,' and in a matter of seconds, their true identity and all their criminal record comes back."
Sheriff Joseph McDonald of Plymouth County, Mass., calls the tool a game-changer. "It's going to allow us to know with a great level of certainty, No. 1, who it is we are taking in when we book them in, and who it is on the other end of that sentence that we are releasing?" McDonald says.
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But privacy advocates, including Jay Stanley of the ACLU, say, not so fast.
"We think there should be some rules and regulations in place that govern how the police use these things so that it can be used when it's appropriate -- when the police has probable cause that you have committed a crime -- but that they don't start using them all over the place as a generalized surveillance tool," Stanley said.