By Tony Sermonti
A new look to driver licenses and facial recognition software will make it harder for identity thieves to do business in Washington.
DOL is expanding the use of facial recognition technology, a security measure already used in the Enhanced Driver License program, to safeguard regular driver licenses and ID cards. Changes to the driver license are coming as well — by shifting the picture to the left side and adding an identical but smaller, shaded photo on the right, the licenses will be harder to fake. The new design will be phased in as people renew or replace, starting in June.
Essentially a math-based facial mapping system, the software creates unique facial “templates” based on each driver license or ID card photo to identify potential matches of the same face associated with different names. From there, Department of Licensing investigators take over the case, examining actual photographs and other information to determine if criminal activity, including identity theft, is occurring.
Investigators say most matches will be easily resolved; the results of marriages or legal name changes, while some will be clear cases of criminal activity. They’ve already linked one individual by photograph to 36 different identities.
The system can only be accessed by investigators with the Department of Licensing who have gone through extensive background checks.