A plan by the California DMV to “fast track” a five-year, $63 million contract for face-recognition software has been blocked by the state legislature’s Joint Legislative Budget Committee. The fast-track process would have avoided public hearings on the contract. Face-recognition systems use algorithms to automatically detect and identify individuals.
The San Jose Mercury News reports that the DMV wants the software to “detect whether a person photographed for a new driver’s license already has a license.”
The software allows the DMV to match a photograph with the entire DMV database of driver’s license pictures.
But privacy groups strongly objected, fearing police could borrow the DMV’s biometric technology to monitor people at public gatherings. Privacy groups said police would be able to photograph “innocent people” and scan their picture into the software, then match it with the database, which in turn could reveal a person’s name and address.
Security Info Watch has a good article that goes into more details about the DMV’s plan.