Is new DMV face matching program big brother?

DMV is about ready to start their face identification program for when you renew your drivers license. Upon taking your photo, the computer will digitally compare your photo with your previous photo to verify a match and then compare it against millions of other license photos for possible match also. This has brought criticism from Albany Democrat Herald who states:

You may have noticed that people come in certain types. Many young women, for example, using the same makeup tips on how to achieve the most fashionable look, end up with faces that look kind of the same. So, they can expect a visit from the cops every time they renew their licenses while they still retain their youthful looks.

There’s a more sinister aspect, too. As long as we have a reasonably free country and a government more or less working on democratic principles, there may be nothing wrong with having digital images of every adult in some state or private database. But looking ahead a few decades, what if our political and social situation changes very much for the worse? Then the government will have a way to recognize and keep track of you wherever you go. That might be the end of crime, but it would be the end of freedom too.

Is this good-crime-fighting government? Or more overreaching big brother?

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Posted by at 07:10 | Posted in Measure 37 | 30 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Homer

    Very concerned about other agencies that may have access to our digital face photos. A few years ago, DMV let the public have all the data (age, name, sex, weight) on drivers. Abuse led to the cdata being resticted. Let us not have this problem again with new photo data.

  • eagle eye

    It’s a double-edged sword. If we want to be serious about illegal entry into the country, terrorism, this kind of technology undoubtedly will be useful. On the other hand, it has much potential for intrusiveness and abuse. In a world without al Qaeda and massive illegal immigration, I’d probably just as soon do without it. In the world in which we actually live, I think we’re going to have it. Probably better to focus on how to minimize as much as possible the risk and damage.

  • CRAWDUDE

    If they use this technology to actually stem the tide of illegals getting into the country than I support it.

    It’s MY personal opinion that everyone should have to immigrate here legally; others may have differing opinions which is their right and I support that right.

  • Philo

    Why can’t they just compare photos at point of renewal? That would seem to make the most sense.

    The other thought is how accurate is the computer in detecting matches.

  • Jeff

    #4 Philo – I suspect that we’ll find out how accurate the computer is when they actually use it against real data.

  • David

    I Think That Before we give The Government Carte Blanche We should consider who has Access In Oregon They were letting Inmates Do it for a while.

    Public reacts to use of company that sends DMV data to Mexico.
    By PEGGY LOWE
    The Orange County Register

    Orange County’s Superior Court contracts with a company that uses workers in Nogales, Mexico, to do the data entry of traffic tickets, a revelation on Thursday that outraged many who fear personal information is leaving the country.

    The court has contracted since March 2006 with Cal Coast Data Entry, Inc., a Cerritos company that has a facility in Nogales. Information from tickets – including drivers’ license numbers, car license numbers, birth dates and addresses – are scanned at the Cerritos facility and sent electronically to the Mexican facility.

    In a statement issued Thursday evening, court officials defended use of the company, saying transfer of ticket information was by electronic encryption and the company has state-of-the-art security.

    “The company and the staff they employ are dedicated to keeping the public’s data secure and safe,” the statement said. “The court wants to ensure the public that private data is safe.”

    Court officials refused to release the cost of the contract and said they would continue using the company. Cal Coast officials wouldn’t comment, citing client confidentiality.

    The disclosure of the Mexican outsourcing came from an unnamed county law enforcement officer who called a popular conservative radio program, KFI’s “John & Ken Show,” saying he had concerns about identity theft and the potential for terrorism. But the news had an even larger impact because the shock jocks urged their faithful listeners to call the Orange County Board of Supervisors and complain.

    Supervisors were bombarded with angry callers who were told that the county doesn’t have jurisdiction over the courts and that it’s a state agency. That didn’t mollify the callers or the radio hosts, and Supervisor Chris Norby appeared on the show and denounced the court’s hiring of the outsourcing company.

    “(DMV information) has to be kept as closely guarded as possible and outsourcing this kind of information outside the country is something this board would never support,” Norby said.

    Whether other California courts follow the same practice is uncertain. Lynn Holton, a spokeswoman for the Judicial Council of California, said she didn’t know if all 58 superior courts in the state enter into contracts for outsourcing data processing but it is within a court’s discretion to do so.

    “Many courts in California enter into contracts for various services that are needed for court operations,” she said.

    John and Ken were unrepentant in pointing listeners to the wrong agency, although the station removed the supervisors’ phone numbers from its Web site at midday. Getting masses of people to react to erroneous information is a growing trend, thanks to the lightning quick speed of the Internet, said Barbara O’Connor, director of the Institute for the Study of Politics and Media at Cal State Sacramento.

    The problem is especially pertinent to “infotainment,” and talk radio likes to encourage “participatory audiences,” she said.

    “That is a universal problem. Increasingly every tipster in the world gives media entities information and it’s often wrong, and they post it,” O’Connor said. “So the media in general has to be very careful before they post it on the Web and unleash the masses to go after the target.”

    The courts have contracted with outside agencies for data entry of traffic citations for several years, the court’s statement said. In addition to the electronic security, an independent company audits Cal Coast to ensure compliance, the Nogales facility has 24/7 security and the staff are required to undergo a national felony background check. Nogales employees are also certified by the Sonoran State Police, the courts statement said.

    Contact the writer: (714) 285-2862 or [email protected]

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