New "no-smiling" rule hits NJ DMV

Nothing To Smile About: New Jersey Calls For Serious License Photos

New Jersey residents have a lot to be excited about: despite being one of the most diner-filled places on earth, they are still one of the skinniest states in the US. Plus, Jersey Shore was recently cancelled, which should give everyone in the state reason to rejoice. But if you’re at the DMV, be careful not to show how thrilled you are that Snooki has retired to full-time motherhood.

The New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicleshas decided that “smiles any larger than the one shown on the sample license above can confuse facial recognition software,” reports The Christian Science Monitor. The nation’s DMVs have been using facial recognition software in order to catch driver’s license applicants who are attempting to assume someone else’s identity to make a fake ID. If a previous photo in the system matches a new one, but the names aren’t consistent, an investigation is begun. According to The Monitor, the goal is simple:

“Over time, we have a hunch that policies like this will create a database of faces, just like the existing fingerprint database. Ultimately, law enforcement agents will be able to use that database to pick out perps from security camera footage after a crime has been committed.”

Most of the general population probably doesn’t have to be told to tame down the smiles. After all, by the time you finally have your number called at the DMV, any desire to show off your newly whitened teeth has been replaced with frustration over the hours you just lost from your life sitting in a dirty plastic chair. Some, however, are adamant about a happy photo op. Velvet McNeil from Sicklerville, NJ, told The Philadelphia News that she was so mad about being told not to smile that she stormed out of the Cherry Hill Motor Vehicle Commission Office earlier this week.

“Your picture means a lot; it’s who you are,” said McNeil, 38, told Philly.com. According to Fox News, McNeil says now that she’s learned the reason for the policy, she’ll go back and pose … with a slight smile.

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