Arizona DOT implementing facial recognition technology to curb identity theft

July 23, 2015 - 

The Arizona Department of Transportation announced it is implementing facial recognition technology for the application process for state-issued credentials in an effort to curb identity theft and fraud, according to a report by the Eastern Arizona Courier.

From now on, individuals applying for a new or duplicate driver license or state ID card at either an ADOT Motor Vehicle Division or Authorized Third Party office will be required to have their photo taken.

During the “Photo First” review process, the facial recognition system will occur immediately and seamlessly as the applicant continues through the process.

The ADOT Motor Vehicle Division’s implementation of the facial recognition requirement has been a long time coming, having first introduced a Photo First approach in 2012 to help detect and prevent fraud, forgery and identity theft.

Two years later, the department implemented Central Credential Issuance, eliminating credentials being issued at the MVD or Authorized Third Party offices.

The two processes have resulted in carrying out a more comprehensive review of applications, as well as increasing the timeframe of detecting potential fraudulent submissions.

“Facial recognition technology supports the commitment by ADOT to protect the privacy of its customers, and to maintain the integrity and accuracy of the credential issuance process,” said ADOT Director John Halikowski. “This technology enables us to fight against fraud and identity theft.”

Facial recognition offers an effective screening method in detecting any errors in customer records in the state driver license database and preventing individuals from using fake credentials to obtain an Arizona driver license or identification card.

The technology also enables the ADOT to develop the new federally compliant Voluntary Travel ID based on requirements stated in the federal REAL ID Act of 2005.

The system will alert staff when the facial recognition technology finds an error in the credential application record, and automatically review the record to identify and fix any potential file errors.

If the system confirms that it is not a file error, personnel in the ADOT Office of the Inspector General will perform a comprehensive review of the record.

“This technology allows us to take a proactive approach to protecting people’s identities and stopping fraud,” said ADOT assistant director Terry Conner, who leads the Enforcement and Compliance Division. “Our detectives are already working investigations after reviewing reliable information provided by the system.”

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.