Enhanced DMV facial recognition technology helps NY nab 100 ID thieves | Ars Technica
In January, the New York State DMV enhanced its facial recognition technology by doubling the number of measurement points on a driver’s photograph, a move the state’s governor says has led to the arrest of 100 suspected identity thieves and opened 900 unsolved cases. In all, since New York implemented facial recognition technology in 2010, more than 14,000 people have been hampered trying to get multiple licenses.
The newly upgraded system increases the measurement points of a driver’s license picture from 64 to 128. The DMV said this vastly improves its chances of matching new photographs with one already in a database of 16 million photos. As many as 8,000 new pictures are added each day.
“Facial recognition plays a critical role in keeping our communities safer by cracking down on individuals who break the law,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement. “New York is leading the nation with this technology, and the results from our use of this enhanced technology are proof positive that its use is vital in making our roads safer and holding fraudsters accountable.”
The DMV said new licenses won’t be issued until a photo clears the DMV database.
The DMV said about half of those recently arrested were accused of using a stolen identity to obtain a license because their original one was suspended or revoked. What’s more, about two dozen of the arrests were of culprits modifying their names in a bid to get a second Social Security number. Five others were arrested for trying “to take over someone else’s existing New York Sate DMV record,” the agency said.
At least 39 US states use some form of facial recognition software.
New York’s DMV first implemented facial recognition technology in 2010. Since then, more than 3,600 people have been arrested for possessing multiple licenses. The agency said it resolved another 10,500 facial recognition cases outside the criminal justice system because the statute of limitations had expired. In those instances, the cases were handled administratively—and the agency revoked licenses and transferred all tickets, convictions and accidents to the scofflaw’s true identity.
New York’s DMV photo database is not among those databases forwarded to an FBI program containing about 411.9 million facial recognition images of people who have committed no crimes.