New Driver’s Licenses: No Smiling Allowed

Thanks to new technology, sporting a happy smile while getting your driver’s license is no longer permitted in some places.

Indiana’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles has released a new set of rules for driver’s license photos. The change comes because of facial recognition software now being used by the department’s computers.


So, on the no-no list: smiling, wearing glasses, or wearing a hat or head scarf. You also can’t have your hair hanging down on your face. (Damn. There go my plans to masquerade as the guitarist from Radiohead circa 1992 in my next license photo.)


The government says any of those things could interfere with its software’s ability to match your face with others in its databases. Match your face, you ask? Yep. The system will automatically scan your mug and check it against more than 6 million others to make sure you’re really who you say. And, apparently, this high-tech creation can’t function if you’re flashing your pearly whites.

Luckily, there’s very little to smile about in a Motor Vehicle Bureau, so we suspect the adjustment won’t be too tough to make. At least, as long as you’re not Tom Cruise. That guy’s gonna have problems.