Normally, when a company buys software that does not work, the IT staff gets in trouble, they try to get your money back, purchase different software or some other type of corrective action. When a state or local government buys software that does not work, what do they do? Attempt to alter human behavior of course! Taking a page from the TSA playbook, the department of motor vehicles in four states adopt a ‘No Smiles’ policy when taking photos. Why? Because their facial recognition software don’t work none too good:

“Neutral facial expressions” are required at departments of motor vehicles (DMVs) in Arkansas, Indiana, Nevada and Virginia. That means you can’t smile, or smile very much. Other states may follow … The serious poses are urged by DMVs that have installed high-tech software that compares a new license photo with others that have already been shot. When a new photo seems to match an existing one, the software sends alarms that someone may be trying to assume another driver’s identity.”

Great idea! Hassle people getting their drivers licenses by telling them they cannot smile because a piece of software the DMV bought sucks so bad at facial recognition it cannot tell one person from another. I know those pimply face teenagers can be awfully tricky, but really, did they need to spend the money to catch a couple dozen kids a year? Did someone get embarrassed because they issued a kid a drivers license with the name “McLovin”? Was the DHS grant money burning a hole in their pockets? Seriously, fess up that you bought busted software and move on. There are database cross reference checks that should be able to easily spot identity re-use. Besides, kids will figure out how to trick the software far more easily than someone with half a brain. Admitting failure is the first step to recovery.