New Jersey Bans ‘Big’ Smiles
September 24, 2012 by Bryan Nash
If you go to get your driver’s license in New Jersey, put on your sad face. The State has banned “big” smiles, saying they interfere with facial-recognition technology.
The policy has been in effect all year, but it has not been talked about much. That is, until Velvet McNeil spoke to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
She told the newspaper that she stormed out when she was told not to smile, but not given a reason.
“Your picture means a lot,” she said. “It’s who you are.”
But the smile police are a little lenient. Raymond Martinez, commission of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, says a “neutral smile” is OK.
Elyse Coffey, a spokesperson for the Motor Vehicle Commion, said that a slight smile is acceptable, but people should not smile as if they won a lottery.
“The digital photos allow us to conduct a facial recognition scrub, which allows us to check the photos of our 19 million faces to make sure each driver has only one driving record and you are who you say you are,” Coffey said. “We’re asking customers not to make exaggerated facial expressions.”