W.Va. checks drivers’ photos with FaceIt

W.Va. checks drivers’ photos with FaceIt

West Virginia’s Motor Vehicles Department is piloting the use of facial recognition software to verify license applicants and holders.

Digimarc ID Systems of Tualatin, Ore., is installing FaceIt recognition software from Visionics Corp. of Jersey City, N.J., to compare each new license photo against 2 million JPEG photos stored in the DMV database, said David Bolyard, director of driver services. Within a few seconds, the system returns any similar photos so that DMV officials can revoke fraudulent or duplicate licenses.

West Virginia’s pilot did not come about because of worries about foreign terrorists. It was designed to deal with a homegrown problem: bad drivers.

“I’m always concerned when I see people who have a lot of problems on their driving records,” such as multiple points or arrests for driving under the influence, Bolyard said. “Then all of a sudden, they drop from the system. You never see them again. It concerns me that people are circumventing the system.”

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