On the other hand, I did it while still wearing the beard I developed during the early stages of my recovery from a broken ankle: Driverâ€™s License Emerges as Crime-Fighting Tool, but Privacy Advocates Worry
On the second floor of a state office building here, upstairs from a food court, three facial-recognition specialists are revolutionizing American law enforcement. They work for the Massachusetts motor vehicles department.
Last year they tried an experiment, for sport. Using computerized biometric technology, they ran a mug shot from the Web site of â€œAmericaâ€™s Most Wanted,â€ the Fox Network television show, against the stateâ€™s database of nine million digital driverâ€™s license photographs.
The computer found a match. A man who looked very much like Robert Howell, the fugitive in the mug shot, had a Massachusetts driverâ€™s license under another name. Mr. Howell was wanted in Massachusetts on rape charges.
[…] At least six other states have or are working on similar enormous databases of driverâ€™s license photographs. Coupled with increasingly accurate facial-recognition technology, the databases may become a radical innovation in law enforcement.
[…] Critics say the databases may therefore also represent a profound threat to privacy.
â€œWhat is the D.M.V.?â€ asked Lee Tien, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a privacy advocate. â€œDoes it license motor vehicles and drivers? Or is it really an identification arm of law enforcement?â€
[…] In time, though, the combination of facial recognition and other information â€” from financial records, mobile phones, automobile positioning devices and other sources â€” may do away with the ability to move anonymously through the world, Mr. Tien, the privacy advocate, said.
â€œThe real question with biometrics,â€ he said, â€œis that they are part of a cluster of technologies that will allow for location tracking in both public and private places.â€
Hmmm — where have I heard concerns voiced about losing anonymity before….?