Say “cheese”…at least for now, because a state D.M.V.office near you could start saying “no” to wide-mouthed grins on driver’s licenses.
It’s all in the name of security. Arkansas, Indiana, Virginia and Nevada invested in software designed to match pictures of applicantsto help prevent identity theft. But there’s a problem. The technology is not well-versed with smiles.
“I think it’s kind of silly that we’d have to do it, but if they’ve proven that it makes it difficult to identify people if they have a smile, then I think we should just be more straight-faced,” said Bob Nunes, who was leaving the D.M.V office in Palm Springs.
“I always smile so to me I feel that it’s how you look in the picture,” said Cindy Recio, who was getting new license plates.
“I don’t see what the big deal is. I’m sure (the employees) will be able to recognize you either way with or without the smile,” said Alejandra Solis, who says she smiles but doesn’t show teeth.
The state of Washington first used the softwareto stop more than6,000 people from getting fake I.D.’s. But, not every state has the software. In February, the state of California talked about adopting face-recognition technology at the D.M.V. It went by the wayside because of the state’s then-$40 billionbudget deficit.
“We do require them to bring in a social security number that we double check the person is who they say they are,” said Jan Mendoaz with the California D.M.V. “When you get the picture taken, we make sure your face isn’t covered in anyway. Can’t have sunglasses. We do allow head covering for religious purposes. However, anything that may throw a shadow on your face or cover your face like eyeglasses, we make you remove.”
But until the facial recognition software is adopted for all licenses feel free to show those pearly whites.