With 2016 just a few weeks away, Arizona identification cards and driver’s licenses are undergoing big changes to meet Federal REAL ID standards, and those that don’t will become much less usable.
Some of the newest and most important updates have to do with license photos.
Due to a new facial recognition software, ID photos must comply with a new facial recognition software that requires clear, high quality photos.
Those who wear eyeglasses everyday will need to go in for an updated, lens-free photo as the new software will not allow facial features to be covered in ID photos. Facial hair and religious items, like hijabs, are still allowed as long as they are worn daily and don’t cover up the eyes, nose or mouth.
This new facial-recognition system will examine photos of those applying for driver’s licenses and ID cards at Motor Vehicle Division offices and alert workers if one of the new photos matches with a photo that already exists in the database. Additionally, Arizonans will now need to get a new license photo every eight years.
This is intended to notify officials if multiple names are being used for one photo, for example, to help detect fraud, identity theft, and more. However, some believe that the new software could be violation of privacy.
The American Civil Liberties Union supports getting rid of the REAL ID, arguing that the new licenses are a “tremendously destructive impact on privacy,” The Phoenix New Times reports.
Although older Arizona licenses with existing ID photos will still be valid forms of identification in several cases, such as for voting, they will not be accepted forms of ID for traveling, even domestically. Those without a REAL ID will need to use a passport or other form of ID to get through airport security. The date for when this transition will take place has yet to be announced.
REAL-IDs are predicted to be available in Arizona in April.