Tuesday, August 10th
It’s a blip on the radar, but we’d better get used to it. For now, 30 states say they’re using it via DMVs to track identity theives:
New York this year became one of more than 30 states to deploy the controversial technology at its Department of Motor Vehicles. Gov. David A. Paterson will brief reporters Tuesday on hundreds of cases the state is prosecuting as a result — including at least one that officials will tout as a major criminal apprehension.
New York officials would not comment prior to the briefing, but the Empire State is just the latest in a long line to find that facial recognition can be a powerful tool to unmask identity thieves and other imposters.
Facial-recognition software automatically examines digital photographs, comparing the unique underlying structures of the face across different images — flagging suspicious matches.
Brian Zimmer of the Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License told The Times that what distinguishes New York, Indiana and a dozen or so states that he said take a similar “hard line on imposters” is that “every attempt at fraud is prosecuted,” and that officials press felony charges. The coalition is a nonprofit that advocates the introduction of anti-fraud measures in motor vehicle departments nationwide.
Mr. Zimmer said New York had carefully piloted facial-recognition technology for more than a year before rolling it out in January “to ensure full scale application throughout the state would be successful, and not lead to mistakes or service delays. I understand that hundreds of people have been arrested so far this year as a result of its deployment.”
And blah, blah.
Pay attention: always perk your ears when you hear about a “non-profit” working to promote a government agency.
Non-profits are like lobbyists. Only, they usually specialize in lobbying the public to accept whatever (usually progressive) policy is being implemented by the state. [edit: When I say “usually progressive,” I say this with the exception of the countless non-profs that have a direct impact on the quality of life for many, many people. I also say — go back to the source, vet the board of directors and partnerships to verify and determine the core values of the non-prof.]
They’re on the state’s payroll. The government dime. The taxpayer’s dole. That should tell you who they “work for.”
So .. when anyone tells you the bureaucracy of the state is growing larger and larger, think about including non-profits. They compete for government funds, so of course they’ll mold themselves to pushing, advocating, cultivating and activating the state message.
Now, getting back to Zimmer.
Zimmer’s organization, the Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License, basically sets about promoting the implementation, compliance and enforcement of the Real ID Act, which sets minimum standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards. The law is based off of the 9/11 Commission report and, of course, there are privacy concerns. At one point, Napolitano wanted to have it repealed.
A quick google shows that back in 2007, Zimmer was a lead lobbyist for Kelly, Anderson and Associates. He testified in front of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security in May, 2007 as part of the “Interrupting Terrorist Travel: Strengthening the Security of International Travel Documents” testimony.
Ronald K. Nobel, the then-and-now Secretary-General of INTERPOL was on the same panel with him.