New Facial Recognition Software Fights Identity Fraud
April 1, 2005
Every day in Kentucky, 4,000 citizens get a new or renewed driver's license. Since 2002, those licenses have been digitized, featuring a digital image and digital data. Kentucky's upgrade to a digitized license has been the work of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Viisage, a vendor delivering advanced technology identity solutions for governments, law enforcement agencies and businesses concerned with enhancing security and protecting personal privacy. "Using biometrics in the licensing process provides a valuable new tool to help determine if a person has multiple identities in the system, helps us investigate identity theft cases and further assists law enforcement agencies", commented Roy Mundy, Commissioner of the Department of Vehicle Regulation.
In March, Viisage conducted training for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's Division of Driver Licensing and the Kentucky State Police (KSP) on an upgraded version of their facial recognition software package. The software, called FaceEXPLORER, currently manages more than 3.9 million images from the Kentucky driver's license system. All the information is stored in a secure database.
Before the move to the digitized license, searching for a single case of an individual with multiple identities in the driver's license system could take up to 47 days. FaceEXPLORER can search the entire 3.9 million images in just 15 seconds, comparing the selected image to the closest match using a method of scoring based on similar facial characteristics. The software uses a highly complex algorithm to digitize the features on a person's face to a numeric value. That numeric value allows a computer system to quickly analyze the images. While the technology is rapidly improving, human intervention is still a key component to identify a match.
Those working on the new system quickly point out that the image database is used as an internal investigation tool only, not for line-ups or identifying the public. Kentucky's driver licenses are already recognized as one of the best in the nation. The move to using biometrics in the licensing process places Kentucky as a national leader.
"This state of the art technology provides a tremendous investigative resource for law enforcement officers across the state and we appreciate the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's partnership on this project," stated Major Alecia Webb-Edgington, chief information officer for the Kentucky State Police.
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