GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. – Twenty-five years after busting out of prison, Minnesota fugitive Robert Frederick Nelson had a new place, a new name, and a new life, but he didn't get a new face.
And that is how the Nevada DMV found and caught him—through facial recognition scanning while applying for a new license.
This Minority Report-style technology has started commercially cruising its way into everyday life.
JetBlue Airlines started using passengers' faces as boarding passes.
Techies speculate future iPhones will use facial recognition to unlock.
At the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Delta Airlines rolled out new kiosks that use a face scan to check your own bags.
“I don't know if you noticed, but if you post a photo to Facebook it kind of already knows your Aunt May is in the background,” said Robert Stephens, founder of Geek Squad.
Stephens, who also started the artificial intelligence company Assist, advocates for facial recognition that makes business better for customers. For instance, he pays for Clear’s facial recognition VIP access to skip to the front of security lines at LAX. However, he’s wary of potential vulnerabilities should facial recognition databases get in the wrong hands.
“That's the bigger risk I'm worried about, it's not intentional misuse, it's unintentional negligence of bad computer security,” said Stephens.
The FBI operates a facial recognition system with access to more than 400 million photos – including driver’s license photos from 16 participating states, according to a Government Accountability Office report from 2016.
Minnesota is not one of them, but the department of vehicle services has used facial recognition software since 2008, according to Department of Public Safety spokesperson Megan Leonard.
The facial recognition program does not run every time someone gets a new ID. Instead, it scans the state database looking for duplicates and potential fraud.
Leonard says using facial recognition for law enforcement investigations is not permitted under Minnesota law.