New York State DMV upgrades facial recognition software

February 23, 2016 - 

New York State’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) recently upgraded its facial recognition software to prevent individuals from obtaining driver’s license under false pretenses, according to a report by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

The new software uses algorithms of facial characteristics, such as cheekbones or the distance between pupils, to compare driver’s license images with other images stored on the DMV database.

The upgraded program doubles the number of measurement points mapped to each driver’s photograph from 64 to 128, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Additionally, the software is now able to overlay images, invert colors, and convert images to black and white to better view scars and other identifying features on the face.

Meanwhile, different hairstyles, glasses and any features that change as an individual ages will not prevent the system from properly matching images.

In an effort to identify persons of interest, the system compares photos to more than 8,000 new photos taken each day at DMV offices across the state as well as the 16 million photos currently stored on DMV’s database.

Cuomo added that the new software will “vastly improve” the system’s security defenses against identity theft and other fraud, as well as keeping high-risk drivers off the road.

“New York has quickly become a national leader in implementing this technology, and we will continue to raise the bar to ensure safer and more secure communities statewide,” Cuomo said.

Police have already used the DMV’s facial recognition software to arrest thousands of people with false identities in New York State.

Since the DMV implemented facial recognition technology in 2010, New York State police have arrested more than 3,600 individuals for possessing more than one license.

Last October, facial recognition software used by Georgia’s Department of Motor Vehicles was unable to differentiate between teenage twin sisters applying for driving permits.

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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.