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FERRIER FILES: Facial Recognition Inventor fights with State of Tennessee

(Fox 17 News)

A Tennessee veteran is at odds with the state over an invention that he believes will save lives in the event of a school shooting.

Adam Jackson thought he was good to go, but then he went in front of the TN alarm systems contractors board. He was shocked to learn that his facial recognition tool wasn’t a software business. He was trying to open an alarm business.

Jackson had the kind of military career he can't talk about; special forces, security, and intelligence. His inspiration for face recognition artificial intelligence software didn't come from war. It came from being a father. He wanted to do something to keep his daughter safe.

“So we set out to create a product that we could sell that would keep IDs safe and the average preschool could afford,” Jackson said.

He says his software cooperates with surveillance cameras will facially recognize a felon or an expelled student in under 30 seconds. It could also find someone the school has put on a list as threatening.

It then texts or e-mails his picture and name to eight people in under 30 seconds. It is the kind of system that could have prevented the awful Parkland Florida school shooting.

When Jackson went to the Tennessee Alarm Systems Contractors Board Meeting, he ran into a brick wall. The board told him his software was legally an alarm system, and that he could not open his business without an alarm license.

The Beacon Center of Tennessee, a non-profit think tank that often represents entrepreneurs bogged down by government regulations, is now representing Adam Jackson.

They say the worst thing about this whole debacle is that Jackson would have to spend five years as an apprentice before he could start installing his software.

“He has served his country, and he deserves to come home and be treated with honor and make a better life," Braden Boucek, attorney for the Beacon Center. "We should be rolling out the red carpet for any sort of software solution like this. Instead we are throwing up barriers."

The issues is being forced into a special hearing, where the state must declare if this software is an alarm system and why it is an alarm system.

Meanwhile Jackson's big dream is not just on hold, it is slipping away.

“I do feel like we had a product that would have changed my life and keep kids safe," Jackson said. "It's unbelievably frustrating watching all the school shootings we could have prevented because some board decided we fall into some narrow section of the law."

Adam Jackson gets another day in front of the TN alarm contractors board, and Fox 17 News will be there to bring you the decision.

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