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Mobile Facial Recognition FAQ

Question: What is Mobile Facial Recognition (FR)?

Answer: Mobile FR is the automated process for comparing faces on a mobile device. This is for law enforcement use only.

Question: What mobile devices may be utilized for FR purposes?

Answer: A department issued cellular phone or tablet with cellular capabilities may be utilized, as well as an Evolution device. An Evolution is a smartphone-based handheld device for capturing single fingerprints and photographs. Additional information on this device can be located at the DataWorks Plus website.

Question: What are the requirements for an agency to utilize Mobile FR?

Answer: A Memorandum of Agreement must be in place between the Michigan State Police (MSP) and the law enforcement agency using Mobile FR. All members of the agency wishing to obtain Mobile FR must be trained by a member of the Statewide Network of Agency Photos (SNAP) Unit prior to use. Users of Mobile FR must read, understand, and agree to follow the SNAP Acceptable Use Policy. Each user must have access to the Michigan Criminal Justice Information Network portal, and a Virtual Private Network (VPN) secure token to use with a cellular device.

Question: Is there a cost associated with Mobile FR use?

Answer: Yes, the VPN secure token has a monthly fee. The secure tokens cost $11 per month, per user. These can be purchased through the MSP. There is no cost associated with the use of Mobile FR on the Evolution device or cellular device charged through the MSP. The Evolution can be purchased through DataWorks Plus. A cellular device must be purchased through a mobile carrier. Any associated costs are the responsibility of the agency.

Question: Under what circumstances can Mobile FR be used?

Answer: Mobile FR is designed for officer safety and to be used for in-person situations only. There are five acceptable law enforcement purposes for Mobile FR use per the SNAP Acceptable Use Policy, which include: consent of the individual, probable cause to arrest, a court order or search warrant, Vulnerable or Impaired Person (VIP) or mental/physical incapacitation, or death. A law enforcement officer may use Mobile FR to assist another agency as long as there is an appropriate law enforcement purpose identified.

Question: Can Mobile FR be used for pre-existing images (i.e., with a still image from surveillance footage, social media photo, etc.) to find a viable candidate?

Answer: No. Using pre-existing images in Mobile FR is prohibited. Mobile FR is for in-person situations only. The subject being photographed must be in your presence.

Question: What types of photos will return for a Mobile FR search?

Answer: Mobile FR will search all criminal mugshots in the state of Michigan. Once users have completed training and agree to follow the SNAP Acceptable Use Policy, their searches will also include Secretary of State (driver’s license and personal identification card) images, as well as the VIP Repository of images.

Question: How is Mobile FR audited?

Answer: Mobile FR is audited by the SNAP Unit daily. Any violations of the SNAP Acceptable Use Policy will be addressed immediately. A random audit is also conducted each month, where users must provide additional details associated with the search. Failure to respond to a targeted or random audit will lead to removal of SNAP access.

Question: What training is required to receive access to SNAP via a mobile device?

Answer: Each Mobile FR user must be trained by a member of the MSP SNAP Unit. This training includes step by step instructions on accessing Mobile FR, as well as a thorough review of the SNAP Acceptable Use Policy. Users will leave this training with a foundational understanding of what FR is, how to use the respective mobile device, and how to obtain the best possible results when conducting Mobile FR. This training takes approximately one hour to complete and can be scheduled to meet the individual needs of the law enforcement agency.

Question: Who do I contact for more information, to setup access, or obtain training on Mobile FR?
Answer: The MSP SNAP Unit.


Revised July 2022