MorphoTrust facial recognition contract with State of Missouri in question

The state of Missouri has halted a facial recognition program related to state driver’s licenses and identification cards which aims to curb fraud in the state.

Reported in SFGate, the Associated Press obtained a copy of an email sent by the manager of Missouri’s driver’s license bureau to employees at MorphoTrust USA — the company responsible for this contract — with the subject line “Photo Validation Project Cancelled.” According to the report, Missouri’s budget director said that the state is trying to avoid new costs for the project while legislators consider a budget proposal that could eliminate the contract’s funding altogether.

The program in question would match photos of people applying for licenses or renewals against photos already registered in the state driver’s license database to catch people trying to obtain false or multiple identities.

There have also been reports that this may have been only a miscommunication, and the program has not been cancelled – though this has yet to be confirmed. Despite this confusion, the Missouri Senate passed a budget plan that would end funding for the contract with MorphoTrust, though both the Senate and House must approve it before a final decision is made.

Reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, MorphoTrust along with the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, recently launched self-service driver’s license kioks across the state, which also leverage facial recognition technologies.

According to the SFGate report on Missouri’s MorphoTrust contract, some Republican lawmakers have raised privacy concerns related to this contract and are actively supporting the blocking of this contract.

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