"Neutral facial expressions" are required at Departments of Motor Vehicles (DMVs) in Arkansas, Indiana, Nevada, and Virginia. That means you can't smile. Great, that's all I need -- an ugly, mean-looking photo of myself that has my birthdate on it in my wallet.
They are trying to cut down on fake IDs and license fraud. So these DMVs have installed high-tech software that compares license photos. If a new photo matches an existing one, the software sends an alarm that someone may be trying to assume another's identity, but the technology is flawed. Face-recognition software can fail if the facial expressions differ in each photo. They say dull expressions "make the comparison process more accurate."
I get the security reason, but seriously, will it work? Do they have to hire "the smile police"? I can picture it now. Photographer: "I'm sorry, ma'am, I said no smiling!"
Photographer: "I'm serious this time, wipe that grin off your face."
How many retakes will they do? And if they are comparing photos, what if my last photo had me smiling? Also, does that mean everyone has to have a mugshot on file, before the technology will really work? How long will that take? I usually just renew by mail anyway. I haven't taken a new photo in years.
And what if the other states never follow suit? So we'll have some happy states and some sad states. That doesn't seem fair.
You know what made me laugh even more? In the article I read, the Arkansas Driver Services Chief said, "They may allow slight smiles, you just can't grin really large." Great, now it's subjective. Well, for now I'm holding onto my old license and hoping I won't have to take a new photo anytime soon -- and if I do, I guess I won't grin really large!
|Angela Chee is a television host, voice-over artist and creator of TheZenMom.com as a resource for other moms because motherhood isn't always so zen. She is a first-time mom.|