NBC News recently reported on the successes of the facial recognition system which has been used by the New York Department of Motor Vehicles since 2010. According to the report, 2,500 people have been arrested for license fraud, when the DMV discovered multiple licenses records for the same person.
The system is manufactured by L-1 Identity Solutions and it is also in use in other states such as North Carolina and Massachusetts. In addition to providing facial recognition solutions to Motor Vehicle Departments such as the Special Investigation Unit of the Massachusetts Registry / State Police, it also provides digital facial biometric technology to casinos and the gambling industry.
Privacy advocates and civil rights advocates are critical of facial recognition systems and the widespread sharing of such data. The Vermont Motor Vehicle Department also uses facial recognition technology to detect license and identity fraud. The ACLU has criticized the state for this and characterizes the use of facial recognition as an invasion of privacy.
The system works by digitizing facial images and comparing them with a database of stored images, using a sophisticated proprietary algorithm. When a match is found between two images, the user is notified and a human makes the final comparison, for verification purposes. The accuracy of this system is extremely high and the Massachusetts State Police use it to detect license fraud. When the system detects multiple licenses for the same individual, MassDOT immediately revokes both licenses and the customer(s) are called into the Registry’s Special Investigation Unit for a license fraud hearing. Providing false information to obtain a license, learner’s permit, or Massachusetts identification card is a felony which carries a potential sentence of 5 years in state prison and a 1 year license revocation.
If you have been accused of license fraud in Massachusetts, you are entitled to legal representation. Contact Attorney Brian E. Simoneau for information and legal assistance.