Temporary Driver’s License Information/Photo ID Card 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.
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 Software 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. 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.