Monday, February 22, 2016


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a major enhancement to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles' facial recognition program to help combat identity theft and fraud, in addition to removing high-risk drivers from the road. The Department of Motor Vehicles recently implemented an improved system that doubles the number of measurement points mapped to each digitized driver photograph to vastly improve the system's ability to match a photograph to one already in the database.

"This software is helping the DMV crack down on people who break the law and ultimately keep the roads safer for drivers and passengers," said Governor Cuomo. "New York has quickly become a national leader in implementing this technology, and we will continue to raise the bar to ensure safer and more secure communities statewide."

The Department's facial recognition software converts digital facial photographs into mathematical algorithms and presents trained staff with photo images that have been identified as having similar algorithms. Photos are run against more than 8,000 new photos taken each day at DMV offices statewide, as well as about 16 million photos already in DMV's database.

The new system increases the number of measurement points on the face from 64 to 128, and allows for the ability to overlay images, invert colors, and convert images to black and white to better see scars and identifying features on the face. Different hair styles, glasses, and other features that change over time – including those that evolve as a subject ages – do not prevent the system from matching photographs. The Department will not issue a driver license or non-driver ID until the newly captured photograph is cleared through the new facial recognition system.