Hope Your Face Is Unique 

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

John Gass recently lost his driver’s license, because his face looked like another man’s. Apparently many states, including Gass’s home state of Massachusetts, are using an automated tool to find fraud artists who apply for multiple licenses under different names. A fine goal, except that the system overzealously suspends licenses if proof of identity isn’t shown rapidly. Massachusetts Registrar Rachel Kaprielian was quoted as saying:

“Yes, it is an inconvenience [to have to clear your name], but lots of people have their identities stolen, and that’s an inconvenience, too.”

Her logic seems to be “Why not make it inconvenient even if someone’s identity isn’t stolen?”. The process didn’t fix anything here, it simply had a false positive, which harmed an innocent man. Kaprielian seems to think that’s perfectly acceptable. If you’re an identical twin, or just have “one of those faces”, you might tend to disagree.


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