Innovation at the DMV
I'm always quick to criticize the Department of Motor Vehicles. After all, I've spent more time in their lines than I have anywhere else. Still, fairness requires me to praise them when they actually do something right. The Wisconsin State Journal wrote today about the DMV making it tricky to get fake driver's licenses:
Getting a fake state-issued driver's license in Wisconsin now requires more than stolen or forged documents. It might take a plastic surgeon.
Every night, after the cameras have been shut off and the staff has gone home, computers quietly scan the roughly 5,500 images captured at state Division of Motor Vehicles field offices that day and compare them to some 6 million photos from driver's licenses and state identification cards on file.
They look at the shape of the nose, the arch of the eyebrows, the crease in the forehead. If the person photographed that day has had a picture taken for a state ID since 1997, chances are, the computers will find it.
Since the system was implemented it has caught more than 630 attempts to get false ID's -- including attempts by a child molester and a drug dealer trying to establish new identities. This is great news. If a driver's license is to have any validity at all as an identifier, it must be difficult to establish a false ID. While this system won't prevent other people from creating false ID's on their own, it will help make sure that the DMV isn't handing out "official" fake IDs.
Good job -- that's praise-worthy.