A Valley News Publication

The American Civil Liberties Union came for the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles this week, prompting the department to launch a legal inquiry into its facial recognition software, Vermont Public Radio reported on Wednesday.

The ACLU sent Ide an 11-page letter Tuesday outlining civil liberties concerns related to the program, which uses facial recognition technology to scan the DMV’s database of 2.6 million images of more than 700,000 unique individuals.


Jay Diaz, a staff attorney for the Vermont ACLU, says the program is a violation of a Vermont law passed in 2004 that prohibits “any procedures or processes for identifying applicants for licenses, learner permits, or nondriver identification cards that involve the use of biometric identifiers.”

Vermont’s DMV commissioner, Robert Ide, announced on Wednesday that the department had opened a legal review into the recognition program in the wake of the ACLU letter, according to VPR. There is no definitive timeline as to when the review is expected to be completed.