California DMV considering facial recognition

Proposed $63M contract would help flag applicants applying for fraudulent licenses

Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, perhaps the most outspoken lawmaker when it comes to privacy issues, is urging his colleagues to put the contract proposal before a public hearing, where DMV officials could provide more details about the facial recognition technology.

"There are at least four questions I want to ask," Simitian said. They are: Does the technology work? How much does it cost? Does it make the public safer? How will privacy be protected?

"None of those questions should be avoided or evaded by doing an end around the process, which is really what's being proposed here," Simitian said.

Wednesday, he formally asked the Joint Legislative Budget Committee to reject the finance department's fast-track application for the contract.

Committee spokesman John Ferrera said the committee is aware of the concerns raised by the application and is "giving the request consideration."