August 2015


How has your jurisdiction adopted facial recognition technology, and how is it planning on using this software in the future?


Investigator IV/Acting Administrator, Washington State Department of Licensing

The Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) adopted facial recognition in 2008 as part of our enhanced driver license and ID card program. It was in response to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, and we worked with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State to provide our citizens with a means to prove citizenship for entry at border crossings from Canada and Mexico. In June 2012, DOL was granted the authority by the Washington State Legislature to use biometrics (facial recognition technology) on all driver license and identification card issuances. We chose facial recognition over other biometric options for fraud deterrence and detection because it is highly accurate and uses an identifier we already had in our database. It is also transparent to our customers, which was an important factor.

Director, Illinois Secretary of State Police

Illinois has been a leader in facial recognition programs. The Illinois Secretary of State was among the first in the country to adopt such a program and has become a model for other jurisdictions. The Illinois program has been a huge success, finding over 5,000 cases of identity fraud since implementation. Of those cases, the majority involved applicants with two or more fraudulent identities. In addition to combating fraud and identity theft, the Illinois Secretary of State Department of Police has found facial recognition to be a valuable investigative tool for identifying suspects involved in criminal activity, victims of crime, deceased persons and for locating missing persons.

Project Manager, Fraud Prevention & Business Integrity Office, Ontario Ministry of Transportation

In 2009, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) implemented a facial recognition program, known as photo comparison technology (PCT). The PCT program has improved the integrity of the Ministry’s driver and Ontario photo card databases—consistent with AAMVA’s one person, one record principle—by reducing the propagation of multiple identities for a single individual, identity theft and data/clerical errors. The PCT program has also assisted the law enforcement community, within the parameters set by legislation and MTO policies and procedures, to assist in criminal investigations involving financial crime, criminally suspended drivers and homicides.

Senior Investigator, Alberta Peace Officer, Face and Document Forensic Analysis Team Supervisor, Special Investigations Unit, Service Alberta

In Alberta, we have a registries dedicated law enforcement agency known as the Special Investigations Unit (SIU). Facial recognition (FR) is a key tool used by SIU to identify fraud and other related offenses committed against the registry system. SIU works closely in a variety of areas, including FR, with other law enforcement agencies. One of our new initiatives is the use of electronic comparison chart presentations to assist prosecutors in proving FR-related cases. Looking toward the future, we are working on establishing an interprovincial FR framework to identify criminally suspended drivers who hold driving privileges under fraudulent identities in other provinces.