Now that the traditional swipe credit card is starting to fall out of favor in the face of EMV and mobile payments, software developers are scrambling to develop updated ways of authenticating consumers’ identities at the point of sale. Among the proposed methods, facial recognition has long been a pie-in-the-sky solution, but Illinois is the latest state to show that there’s a future in the tech.
The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Illinois is set to add facial recognition services to its driver’s license application process. The state is one of 27 that currently sits in non-compliance with the federal government’s Real ID regulations passed in 2005, which requires individual states to improve the security of IDs issued within their borders by the newly delayed deadline of 2018.
Previously, Illinois handed new or replacement driver’s licenses to applicants immediately after all proper paperwork was processed in physical branch locations. As of July, applicants will be given temporary paper IDs while their full applications and current photos are sent to a statewide facial recognition system that complies with Real ID requirements.
The announcement drew considerable criticisms from personal rights advocates — who called the change an invasion of privacy and a step toward making identity theft that much easier for hackers targeting government institutions — though Jim Burn, inspector general for Illinois’ office of the Secretary of State, claimed that the facial recognition system would increase security rather than create backdoors to it.
“We have in Illinois one of the better facial recognition systems in the country,” Burns told the Tribune. “Those digital photos will match up in our facial recognition system, and if we have a problem … it will immediately kick up, whereas the old counter service, they would already be out the door and it might be 48 hours later that you discover a problem with it.”