No Smiling On Your Drivers License. It Makes Our Software Sad

from the the-computer-makes-me-frown dept

We've discussed in the past how absolutely useless most facial recognition systems are. Their error rates (both types of errors) are way too high to be even remotely useful. At best, they're potentially (though, not definitely) useful for advertising purposes, where a false read isn't that big of a deal. However, apparently some states are using facial recognition software to try to make sure the photo on the license matches with other photos of the individual -- but the software sucks so bad that it can't recognize faces when you smile. So, the states using the software, Arkansas, Indiana, Virginia, or Nevada are supposedly telling people they can no longer smile on their driver's license photos. Apparently finding software that actually works wasn't an option.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    qhartman (profile), Jun 1st, 2009 @ 5:27pm

    Oregon Too

    I would suspect that Oregon is doing something similar. When I got my license renewed a couple months ago, the woman operating the camera hassled me when I smiled because (and I quote) "the biometric thingy won't like it.". As a result, I look like a surly serial killer in my driver's license photo. Delightful.

     

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  2.  
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    jim, Jun 1st, 2009 @ 5:28pm

    True in Indiana

    No glasses, no hats in Indiana, either. Nothing that blocks your face or contorts its expression.

     

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  3.  
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    Lucretious, Jun 1st, 2009 @ 5:42pm

    so what happens if you grow a beard (or shave one off)?

     

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  4.  
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    CleverName, Jun 1st, 2009 @ 5:45pm

    Just line inelementary school

    No talking, laughing, or chewing gum
    And stay in a single file line

    Papers please

     

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  5.  
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    Tgeigs (profile), Jun 1st, 2009 @ 5:52pm

    Uh....

    "Arkansas, Indiana, Virginia, or Nevada are supposedly telling people they can no longer smile on their driver's license photos"

    In all honesty, have you been to any of those places? With the extremely unlikely but possible exception of Nevada, what the hell would any citizens of those states have to smile about anyway? I think it's actually a warning that anyone smiling is immediately considered suspicious...

     

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  6.  
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    DJ, Jun 1st, 2009 @ 6:23pm

    Re: Uh....

    Virginia's not a state, it's a Commonwealth...

     

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  7.  
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    DJ, Jun 1st, 2009 @ 6:26pm

    Re:

    You are neither allowed to grow a beard nor shave one off....

     

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  8.  
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    DJ, Jun 1st, 2009 @ 6:29pm

    Lowest bidder

    Ahh, the sub-par performance of the lowest bidder....

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2009 @ 6:43pm

    Happy Criminals

    Cool. All you have to do is smile when you're committing a crime and you're home free.

    Technology: making the world a happier place.

     

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  10.  
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    Tgeigs (profile), Jun 1st, 2009 @ 6:44pm

    Re: Re: Uh....

    Listen, I've been to Virginia, and I can assure you that the wealth is NOT very common...

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2009 @ 7:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Uh....

    This is precisely what happens in a commonwealth.

     

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  12.  
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    Dallas Hinton, Jun 1st, 2009 @ 7:43pm

    drivers' license

    Here in BC we've been forbidden to smile for a number years. The same is true of our passport photos, with the added wrinkle that we can't wear glasses either even though (in my wife's case) she's almost legally blind without them. Both of us have license restrictions requiring us to wear "corrective lenses when driving" but we can't have our picture taken with them on! sheesh!

     

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  13.  
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    NullOp, Jun 1st, 2009 @ 8:13pm

    The Specs

    The specs didn't say it had to work. It just needed to be delivered by XYZ date.

     

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  14.  
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    TriZz (profile), Jun 1st, 2009 @ 8:28pm

    Re: Uh....

    Why Nevada? Because it has Las Vegas...? We have Northern VA -- which is nothing like the backwoods part of the rest of Virginia.

    Northern Virginia is awesome...and yes, I do smile in my Driver's License.

     

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  15.  
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    TriZz (profile), Jun 1st, 2009 @ 8:33pm

    Re: Re: Uh....

    PS: Northern VA houses the riches counties in the country (Fairfax, Arlington, Loudon).

     

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  16.  
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    JV, Jun 1st, 2009 @ 9:04pm

    Re: Re: Uh....

    A commonwealth is a state, a state is a commonwealth.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2009 @ 9:14pm

    Re: drivers' license

    California now 'asks' you to not wear glasses while the picture is taken but they won't refuse to take the picture if you leave them on as far as I'm aware.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2009 @ 10:24pm

    A commonwealth is a state, a state is a commonwealth.

    What about the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico? Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico in Spanish.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 12:13am

    Re:

    Don't forget the Commonwealth's of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Kentucky.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 4:07am

    Who the hell can muster a smile after standing in line forever at the DMV anyway? They're lucky nobody gives them the finger, let alone a smile.

     

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  21.  
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    countd4 (profile), Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 4:59am

    Please do the research

    Well-researched news is better than fling-it-against-the-wall hyperbole. Administrators in Arkansas have been fighting the "no smiling" rumor since it surfaced a week ago. See the article here http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-05-25-licenses_N.htm. "You just can't grin really large," Arkansas driver services chief Tonie Shields says. Arkansas doesn't use facial recognition software. So that's not quite the same as "no smiling"...

    And I appreciate the slings and arrows for those who live here - but ignorance and prejudice knows no boundaries.

     

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  22.  
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    Tgeigs (profile), Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 6:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Uh....

    PSS, I'm just trying to make a few people laugh once in a while. I clearly have a funny-fail going...

     

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  23.  
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    kathal, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 7:36am

    they've already disallowed smiling and general happiness on passports and driving licenses in ireland

     

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  24.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 7:45am

    try to make sure the photo on the license matches with other photos of the individual

    I would go so far as to say most people smile in photos that are taken of them as long as they are aware of photographer. What troubles me is that they want you to look as though you are unaware of the surveillance Big Brother is/will be increasing.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 8:12am

    OK, now face it, how many times when someone asks you for your drivers license will you be smiling?

    Unless you are an old fart and get carded for booze, that will make you smile, other than that?

    Hmmm, lets see:

    State Trooper--No Smile
    Airport Security Line (for 54 mins.)--No Smile

     

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  26.  
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    W Klink (profile), Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 8:49am

    No smiling, but anything else goes

    Yes, Virginia, your photos are completely un-spoofable.

     

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  27.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 10:05am

    Re: Oregon Too

    > As a result, I look like a surly serial
    > killer in my driver's license photo.

    Well, take heart. If you'd smiled, you'd have just ended up looking like a serial killer who just made a fresh kill.

     

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  28.  
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    AG, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 2:48pm

    Uh nope

    Actually Arkansas doesn't give a shit what you do when you get your picture taken. You can't wear dark glasses or a hat that hides your eyes but I've had my glasses on for my pictures for the last 12 years or so and mine are trifocals with a heavy prescription.

     

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  29.  
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    Brian, Jun 10th, 2009 @ 7:34pm

    Re: Uh....

    Seriously? Do you carry around a bag of rocks? I bet you have a serious passion for sucking dick for a living.

    Cheers DB,

    BSH

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Ryan Rush, Jun 19th, 2009 @ 9:59am

    Re: Uh....

    Actually, Arkansas is beautiful! But thanks for playing.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2009 @ 1:57pm

    wow, i'm so scared, things are getting bad, and you can bet with the coming collapse of the dollar, "which is GOING to happen" you can bet they're gonna be screwing us in all types of new ways,

    seems like its about time to leave the country
    !m

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    John, Dec 1st, 2009 @ 11:21am

    take valid pssport photo

    You can create valid passport photos with http://idphoto4you.com website. It knows numerous standards and print sizes. It uses face detection for set position and size of head. It is very useful.

     

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  33.  
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    Chanel, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 11:58pm

    I just got my license in the mail yesterday. I look 100% horrible. I'm from Virginia where now you can't crack a smile for your happy photo shoot.

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Jill, Nov 22nd, 2013 @ 10:58am

    Re:

    I just got my license in the mail today and I look 100% horrible too (from having to smile without showing any teeth). What a stupid law.

    At least reading that other people are experiencing the same thing made me feel better.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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