Temporary Driver’s License Information
(Facial Recognition Technology)
In an effort to make its products more secure, in late October
2007, 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.
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, FaceEXPLORER,
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 FaceEXPLORER 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, FaceEXPLORER 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
individual’s photo to all the other photos in PennDOT’s database.
FaceEXPLORER 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
FaceEXPLORER utilizes “biometrics” in its broadest sense, it does not
uniquely identify a person like other biometric measures, i.e.
fingerprints and DNA.
FaceEXPLORER 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 FaceEXPLORER for criminal