Just like every fingerprint is different, the same goes for faces. Each face has unique features that identify an individual – such as the distance between the eyes, the shape of the nose or the depth of a person’s eye sockets. According to an article in The Star-Ledger, facial recognition technology is proving to be very beneficial for mitigating fraud within the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC), which has recently used the hi-tech tool to make 69 arrests.
The story reports that to date, the MVC has used the facial scrub program to charge more than 100 defendants with obtaining fake drivers licenses. Some of these illegal drivers include truck and bus operators with driving under the influence (DUI) convictions, sex offenders and other felons who were trying to disguise their criminal records. Facial recognition technology has enabled the MVC to make its highways safer by cleaning up its motor vehicle database, allowing duplicate identifications to be eliminated and more efficient customer service options to be offered. (The MVC’s “Skip the Trip” program processed more than 700,000 renewals by mail, significantly cutting the lines and wait times at MVC offices.)
One of the cases mentioned in the article describes one man’s alleged efforts to use the identity of a disabled relative to illegally obtain a driver’s license after his own was suspended in connection with six DUI convictions. Two cases mentioned the alleged use of the identities of dead men to hide past convictions. (How often do we see this?) Other cases include a man who used the identity of his own brother to get a fake ID after his was suspended due to five DUI convictions. Another man in trouble for writing bad checks, using a fraudulent credit card and resisting arrest pleaded guilty to tampering with public records in connection with his false driver’s license. A father on the run from child support payments changed his name and fraudulently obtained a drivers license. He ended up with a 90-day jail sentence and two years of probation.
New Jersey is serious about getting dangerous drivers off the road, ensuring that criminals can’t use a fake ID to commit other crimes. It would behoove other states to get on the “faceprint” bandwagon and implement facial recognition technology to make our nation’s highways safer, while protecting human lives.