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Driver’s licenses scanned in search for fugitives

patterico.com [1]
Tuesday, Oct 13th, 2009

The FBI is using facial recognition software to scan driver’s licenses [2] in an effort to locate fugitives:

“Earlier this year, investigators learned that a double-homicide suspect named Rodolfo Corrales had moved to North Carolina. The FBI took a 1991 booking photo from California and compared it with 30 million photos stored by the motor vehicle agency in Raleigh.

In seconds, the search returned dozens of drivers who resembled Corrales, and an FBI analyst reviewed a gallery of images before zeroing in on a man who called himself Jose Solis.

A week later, after corroborating Corrales’ identity, agents arrested him in High Point, southwest of Greensboro, where they believe he had built a new life under the assumed name. Corrales is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in Los Angeles later this month.”


An ACLU privacy expert describes it as a nationwide virtual lineup:

“Everybody’s participating, essentially, in a virtual lineup by getting a driver’s license,” said Christopher Calabrese, an attorney who focuses on privacy issues at the American Civil Liberties Union.
Calabrese said Americans should be concerned about how their driver’s licenses are being used.

Licenses “started as a permission to drive,” he said. “Now you need them to open a bank account. You need them to be identified everywhere. And suddenly they’re becoming the de facto law enforcement database.”

The FBI program does not take custody of driver’s license photos but instead uses state DMV databases. Its primary use seems to be for law enforcement and not terrorism since, as noted in the article, facial recognition software requires good photos but “We don’t have good photos of terrorists.”