New York's smarter face recognition catches more ID thieves

Over 100 arrests have followed since a tech upgrade in January.

Sometimes, behind-the-scenes tech upgrades can make a big difference. New York's Governor Cuomo reports that an overhaul of the state DMV's face recognition software in January has led to more than 100 arrests and 900 open investigations so far. The trick? The new system checks 128 points on a face instead of 64, dramatically increasing the chances that it'll match a photo against the DMV's database. Combine that with new comparison modes (like black-and-white and overlays) and it's easier to catch identity thieves and fraudsters, such as one man who tried to get a license with a stolen identity in order to evade a suspension.

New York isn't alone in using face recognition in the US, let alone the world. As Ars Technica notes, there are 39-plus states relying on it in some capacity. And to no one's surprise, it's unclear how many people might be slipping through the cracks. However, the data hints that weak points in the technology are going away -- it may be that much harder to hijack someone's ID going forward.