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September 21, 2012


New Jersey Bans Smiling in Driver's License Photos

(Thanks to Maryqos)


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Even though there has never been an instance where anyone managed to maintain a smile all the way to the front of the line at the New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles.

Coffey said that residents are also asked ... to keep their eyes open in order for the database to operate properly.

When I turned 21, they had to take my DL photo twice. The reason the cameraman gave was that you can't drive with your eyes closed.

The only reason I always obey all traffic laws is so I don't have to show anyone my drivers license. I look like I'm about to be shot.

Last time we had our passport photos taken they told my wife her ears had to be visible for much the same reason.

Face it, if you lived in New Jersey would you be smiling? They should just tell them, "Now look at the big picture of the Governor on the wall" and smiling too much would not be an issue.

Ah, to the contrary, Jeff. We smile a lot when we think about our poor neighbors in NYC who have to put up with Nanny Bloomberg and those in Philly who aren't allowed to clean up trash without being sued by the city government.

The real reason for the ban on smiling or abnormal facial expressions is so that the pictures can be used by facial recognition computer programs. Eventually they will be able to scan a surveillance video and come up with the name and address of everyone present. That's good if we're talking about a bank robbery, and not so good if we're talking about street scenes where everyone is minding his own business.

" Now make a face like Harpo Marx... and... hold it... "

Ahem, what about facial hair? Seems like covering your face with a giant batch of fur would be more confusing to photo-recognition than a smile. Are Jerseyites also warned not to shave, or vice versa, until their license is up for renewal?

Years ago, before the German re-unification, I was picking up a colleague from East Berlin at the airport. (Ironically, it was Newark). We came to the tollbooth on the turnpike and he said, "Uh-oh. Checkpoint," and reached into his pocket for his papers. I laughed and said, "Relax. This is America. They only want our money." Facial recognition, my ass.

Having gone through getting passport photos for our little 'uns when they were babies, have nothing but sympathy for this little fella and his family.

Virginia has the no smiling rule, too. I look like a psychopath in my driver's license photo.

In PA the photo license centers are run by the Association for the Blind (IANMTU). You should see some of ours.

I bet that lady was his neighbor.

I got my most recent DL photo while recovering from chemo. Needless to say, I look like hell. If MI were to try face recog on that pic, well, there might be a zombie alert, but it wouldn't id me.

Godspeed Omni ! What about a sardonic smile ?

This article reminded me of this hilarious bit by TJ Miller: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxqMFxxnc7A

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