Facial Recognition Technology Helps DMV Prevent Identity Theft

By: Zac Schultz
By: Zac Schultz

Madison: You might think the picture on your driver's license looks terrible but the DMV is taking a second look.

The Department of Motor Vehicles is using new technology to prevent ID theft. It's called facial recognition technology, and it's used to prevent someone from having multiple IDs with multiple names.

In the past if someone had the right documents-like a social security card or birth certificate-they could go to the DMV, get their picture taken and get a new license with a new identity.

Now, each night the new pictures are compared by a computer, and it spits out pictures that have a facial match.

"Approximately 5,500 images are reviewed. Those are images that are taken around the state. It's compared with our database of 6 million images. The computer comes up with likely matches and the staff reviews those matches to see if there if it's someone who has tried to get a drivers license of ID card under more than one name," says DMV employee Phil Alioto.

The DMV has cancelled 630 licenses since the program started last September. They've made quite a few arrests for things like identity theft, or trying to get a fake ID, but they've also arrested a child molester and a drug dealer-both caught trying to change their identity.

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