Since instances of identity fraud continue to grow each year across the US, many states are left searching for effective ways to combat the crime. According to a 2017 Identity Fraud Study released by Javelin Strategy & Research, “$16 billion was stolen from 15.4 million U.S. consumers in 2016, compared with $15.3 billion and 13.1 million victims a year earlier. In the past six years identity thieves have stolen over $107 billion.”
Arizona is just one of the many states currently using facial-recognition software to scan photos of driver’s license applicants to detect identity fraud. The Arizona Department of Transportation has been using the technology since 2015, and it has helped to bring more than 100 cases to court for fraud. “This high-tech tool has really enhanced our ability to catch identity thieves,” said Michael Lockhart, chief of the department’s Office of Inspector General.
Although the high-tech tool has enhanced law enforcement’s ability to catch identity thieves, some experts are quick to point out the privacy issues associated with it. For instance, license applicants aren’t given explicit notice that their photos could be scanned for law enforcement purposes. “If you don’t know that a system is in place, you actually don’t have the choice of consenting to it or not,” said Clare Garvie, a Georgetown Law Center on Privacy and Technology fellow.