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Temporary Driver License & Photo ID Information

(FACIAL RECOGNITION TECHNOLOGY)

In an effort to make its products more secure PennDOT implemented new photo technology and equipment at its Photo License Centers across the Commonwealth. With this implementation, all driver's license products, including photo identification cards, are outfitted with a new overlay and security features. The new overlay and security features help mitigate the risk for fraud.

Sample Temporary Driver's License
Sample Temporary Driver's License
To further mitigate the risk for fraud, including identity theft, PennDOT issues temporary driver's licenses and photo identification cards, which are valid for 15 days, to individuals who have never held a Pennsylvania driver's license or photo ID, i.e. new drivers, new photo ID card holders and new residents. During that 15-day period, PennDOT utilizes state-of-the-art facial recognition technology to validate the individual's photograph does not match another photograph in our database under a different name(s). The temporary DL/photo ID card looks the same as the current DL/photo ID card, except the blue and yellow banners are gray, the word " temporary" is printed in red across the front and the expiry date is outlined in red. The product can be used by any business to validate name, age, address, etc., just as a permanent DL/Photo ID card.

In addition, PennDOT also uses facial recognition for the same purpose when an individual has their photo taken for their driver's license/identification card renewal. While Pennsylvania driver's licenses/photo ID cards have contained the same digital photo and demographic data since 1994, facial recognition takes the digital photo captured at the photo center and establishes an algorithm based on an individual's facial features. It utilizes this algorithm to compare an individuals photo to all the other photos in PennDOT's database. Facial recognition identifies similar photos as possible matches and PennDOT reviews the possible matches to determine if potential fraud has occurred. If PennDOT determines there needs to be a further investigation, then and only then, does PennDOT turn it over to the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) for further investigation. Although facial recognition utilizes "biometrics" in its broadest sense, it does not uniquely identify a person like other biometric measures, i.e. fingerprints and DNA. 

Facial recognition is utilized by PennDOT, Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) and Pennsylvania’s Attorney General’s Office. PennDOT utilizes it to mitigate the risk of license fraud/identity theft. PSP and the Attorney General’s Office utilize facial recognition for criminal investigative purposes.       ​​​