Tom Wolf, Governor Leslie S. Richards, Secretary, Department of Transportation

Temporary Driverís License Information/Photo ID Card Information
(Facial Recognition Technology)

In an effort to make its products more secure, in late October 2007, PennDOT implemented new photo technology and equipment at its Photo License Centers across the commonwealth. With this implementation, all driverís license products, including photo identification cards, are outfitted with a new overlay and security features. The new overlay and security features help mitigate the risk for fraud.

To further mitigate the risk for fraud, including identity theft, PennDOT issues temporary driverís licenses and photo identification cards, which are valid for 15 days, to individuals who have never held a Pennsylvania driverís license or photo ID, i.e. new drivers, new photo ID card holders and new residents. During that 15-day period, PennDOT utilizes state-of-the-art facial recognition technology, FaceEXPLORER, to validate the individualís photograph does not match another photograph in our database under a different name(s). The temporary DL/photo ID card looks the same as the current DL/photo ID card, except the blue and yellow banners are gray, the word ďtemporaryĒ is printed in red across the front and the expiry date is outlined in red. The product can be used by any business to validate name, age, address, etc., just as a permanent DL/Photo ID card.

In addition, PennDOT also uses FaceEXPLORER for the same purpose when an individual has their photo taken for their driverís license/identification card renewal. While Pennsylvania driverís licenses/photo ID cards have contained the same digital photo and demographic data since 1994, FaceEXPLORER takes the digital photo captured at the photo center and establishes an algorithm based on an individualís facial features. It utilizes this algorithm to compare an individualís photo to all the other photos in PennDOTís database. FaceEXPLORER identifies similar photos as possible matches and PennDOT reviews the possible matches to determine if potential fraud has occurred. If PennDOT determines there needs to be a further investigation, then and only then, does PennDOT turn it over to the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) for further investigation. Although FaceEXPLORER utilizes ďbiometricsĒ in its broadest sense, it does not uniquely identify a person like other biometric measures, i.e. fingerprints and DNA.

FaceEXPLORER is utilized by PennDOT, Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) and Pennsylvaniaís Attorney Generalís Office. PennDOT utilizes it to mitigate the risk of license fraud/identity theft. PSP and the Attorney Generalís Office utilize FaceEXPLORER for criminal investigative purposes.

Fact Sheet and Frequently Asked Questions

Sample Temporary Driverís License

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