No smiling allowed for US state’s facial recognition

The US state of Indiana’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles has started using facial recognition software to help reduce fraud.

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The US state of Indiana’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles has started using facial recognition software to help reduce fraud.

But the software relies on a person's permanent physical characteristics, and the state has imposed restrictions on anything that might interfere with this, including smiling.

When Indiana residents come in to get a new licence or renew an old one, their image is run through a database of existing photos and names. Every day, the system produces a list of names and photos that raise a flag because they don't match.

It's usually about 500 to 600 names, which employees manually look into, Dennis Rosebrough, the bureau's spokesperson told The Industry Standard.

"Most of the issues are resolved very quickly," he said. "It's a much smaller number of names that are then passed on to our investigators."

The bureau is using an off-the-shelf recognition system made by L-1 Identity Solutions. About 20 other states are also using facial recognition software to monitor driver's licenses.

"The facial recognition technology is all about making sure our drivers' licences are as secure as possible," Rosebrough said. "With 6.5 million photos in the database, it's the only way."

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