New license design, facial recognition to play latest role in stemming ID theft

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.


The new driver license look.

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.

8 Responses to New license design, facial recognition to play latest role in stemming ID theft

  1. Reinaldo says:

    Great system, but still needs a little fine-tuning. Too many false matches. Anyhow, illegal immigration ( as well as identity theft) should be less appealing as a result of this system. Is the database nationwide or statewide?

    • DOL Blog says:

      Our state’s facial recognition system only attempts to compare the pictures of new license and ID card applicants and those renewing these documents with other pictures in our state’s driver license database. It does not compare the pictures with any other state or federal databases.

  2. R Close says:

    This reeks of violation of the Fourth Amendment! By requireing collection of my biometric data, without my consent! All in the name of “protecting my personal identity information”. Protecting my identity is my responsibility, not that of the State. When will the Democratic Nazis of Washington leave us alone?

    • JBond says:

      Sounds like you dont agree with Arizonas new law either…That or you must have something to hide…trust me the U.S. Goverment knows anything and everything about you things you dont even know about yourself… People like you need to go back to the 50’s and 60’s and wear tye dyed shirts..!!!

      • R Close says:

        Wrong. The Arizona law is excellent, something the Feds should be doing. All I’m hiding is me, from government instrusion.

    • wschaff says:

      Biometric data? They already have your photo electronically today! I’m not sure what is different about this system besides converting the digital photo file into a mathematical value and then comparing it with others. The digital photo they already have of you is already converted into a numerical (mathematical) value when it is saved in their database. They aren’t taking samples of your DNA or implanting a microchip in your head!

  3. Thomm says:

    We should just start making it a real crime, not just a game as our courts make it out to be. There should be punishment and retribution, such as making the criminal pay for all of the time involved in getting the identity theft corrected and all associated costs.

  4. JBond says:

    It’s about time…. Should have been arresting those out there that try to get someones ID using fake documents as well. Not just slapping them on the wrist and saying you cant apply for 30 days…Wow now thats a big punishment… Start arresting some of these people and let them sit and think about it in JAIL…!!!

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