Governor John Kasich and Attorney General Mike DeWine have weighed in on the State of Ohio’s facial recognition program. 

Neither Kasich nor DeWine seem to recognize the real risks of this program – that it could be used to gather lists of people who appear in public events, or that it could be sued to track individual Ohioans.

Start with DeWine.  After being caught in a lie about the program, DeWine appointed a panel to review security protocols for the facial recognition system.  One, ahem, small problem:  the group does not include any experts in civil liberties or modern electronic surveillance.  There is nobody, for example, from the ACLU or the EFF.

The real interesting stuff, though, is from Kasich.

Kasich has the ability to stop this program tomorrow.  The Attorney General’s Office relies on BMV data and photographs.  The BMV is controlled by Kasich.  So Kasich could simply tell the BMV to not make the photographs available.  (Legal note: the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act limits the use of BMV information – the disclosures to law enforcement are permissive (“may disclose”), not mandatory.)

Let’s repeat: Kasich can stop this program tomorrow.

Instead, all he said was, “frankly I think we all need to understand the implications of what we’ve been seeing with NSA….It’s like that old Elvis Costello song, Watching the Detectives.”


Now we see the problem.  Kasich and DeWine are stuck in an 80s songs loop.  (Technically, 1977, but: whatever – Duran Duran epically covered the song.)

This has go to be embarrassing for Kasich.  After all, the song doesn’t mean what Kasich thinks it means.  The “Detectives” is an old TV series.  The subtle cue is the lyrics referring to a “long shot,” a “cut” and a “close-up.”  The song is about how a person’s lover is too distracted – she just sits there filing her nails and watching TV.

We still think Rockwell’s Somebody’s Watching Me is a better choice than Elvis Costello on so many kitschy levels.  It’s right on point, and it’s an 80s song, so it probably is right in his baby boomer wheel-house.  Here is how a professor at MIT  (seriously!) breaks down the song:

Rockwell feels “like somebody’s watching me and I have no privacy.” “Somebody’s Watching Me” begins with a synthesized voice asking, “Who’s watching me?” The narrator is just an average man who works “from nine to five” and all he wants “is to be left alone in my average home.” The listener is led to ask, “Why would anyone want to monitor him?” Ordinary people there are no reason to suspect become targets, not simply those who “deserve” to be surveilled. Is this an out-of-control system, incompetence or a logic of random application to create deterrence through uncertainty?


We don’t have access to Kasich’s iPhone playlist, but we have some more modern suggestions.  For example, Prodigy is not likely on the Kasich shuffle. But Kasich and DeWine should take a listen to Mac 10 Handle:

Be careful where you pull that trigger they got you on film
They got eyes in the sky, we under surveillance
That On Star on your car track everywhere you’ve been
Gotta watch what I say, they tappin’ my cell phone
They wanna sneak and peak inside my home
I’m paranoid and it’s not the weed

Notorious B.I.G. might expand their minds with Mo Money, Mo Problems:

No info, for the, DEA.
Federal agents mad cause I’m flagrant.
Tap my cell, and the phone in the basement

(Aside: Could Mo Money, Mo Problems be the official JobsOhio Song?)

Perhaps Judas Priest, Electric Eye, is more of Kasich’s speed:

You think you’ve private lives
Think nothing of the kind.
There is no true escape
I’m watching all the time.
I’m made of metal
My circuits gleam.
I am perpetual
I keep the country clean.
I’m elected electric spy
I’m protected electric eye. 

We think Kasich might like Mos Def, Fear Not of Man, because of the religious element:

You got a lot of societies and governments
tryin to be God, wishin that they were God
They wanna create satellites and cameras everywhere
and make you think they got the all-seein eye
Eh.. I guess The Last Poets wasn’t, too far off
when they said that certain people got a God Complex
I believe it’s true

We hope Kasich also listens to Rage Against the Machine (Wake Up:  Through counter-intelligence it should be possible to pinpoint potential trouble-makers and neutralize them.”)  But that doesn’t seem likely.

Probably the best recommendation we can make for Kasich and DeWine is to listen to John Lennon.  The Beatles just HAVE to be on Kasich’s iPhone, right?  We hope he has Gimmie Some Truth on there:

I’m sick and tired of hearing things
From uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocritics
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth

Ive had enough of reading things
By neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth