Four states' DMVs frown on smiling

Arkansas, Indiana, Virginia, and Nevada decide to stop smiley driving license pictures in an attempt to prevent fraud. Face-recognition software in these states can only compare pictures that are serious.

Do I detect the faintest hint of a smile in your driver's license photo? The smile that says, "Gee, I've been here for three days, it's amazing what popping a little E can do to help you through."

Well, perhaps you might rejoice that you don't live in Arkansas, Indiana, Virginia, or Nevada.

Those states--and perhaps more to come--have decided to enact a no-smiling policy on driver's license photos.

Their intentions are noble. You see, these states have invested in very fine software that compares photos on licenses to other photos already taken. No one wants to have their identity assumed by shifty people. So the software is a valuable method of prevention.

A perfect DMV photoshoot rehearsal. CC A National Acrobat/Flickr

The only problem is that it's not so well versed with smiles. Carnegie Mellon professor of robotics, Takeo Kanade, told USA Today that face-recognition software isn't too good at matching two photos if in one of them the subject is smiling.

According to the story, Arkansas, Indiana, and Nevada do allow the slightest semblance of a grin. Whereas you will be stunned to hear that Virginia only wants to see the expression you show the priest, the bailiff, or the ex-lover whom you see with another.

Not every state enjoys the same software. Some say that they don't care if you show your joy at the DMV. The most endearing of these is the large love-commune known as Pennsylvania.

What a strange thought that people can show more joy in Philadelphia than Vegas.

 

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