Two Georgia twins can’t get their driver’s permits because the State of Georgia’s can’t tell them apart, WJBF (Augusta) is reporting.
For most teenagers, getting their driver’s permit means finally being free. It’s a rite of passage, marked by a few hours of tests, photographs, and paperwork followed by that glorious little card that means you can finally drive. For Alicia and Alicen Kennedy of Augusta, Georgia, that rite of passage got held up by a computer glitch and bureaucratic red tape.
The twins went to a Georgia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office and filled out all the requisite forms, showed their birth certificates, and tried to jump through all of the hoops necessary to get their permits; but, when their pictures were taken, there was a problem, as Alicia explained.
“We gave her our paperwork but we didn’t even get a chance to take the test because [the clerk] kept saying something was wrong with the computer.”
The problem was that the Georgia DMV uses facial recognition software, which is handy for weeding out people who are fraudulently trying to get a Georgia ID under a false name — people like identity thieves, fraudsters, terrorists, and the like.
“The other lady came back and said that when we were taking our pictures it was picking up as saying that we were one person instead of two different people.”
As Alicen explains, she and her twin sister had to have their photos taken — and sign more paperwork — several times, but the computer still wouldn’t cooperate. Alicen said she believes she was made to feel like the whole ordeal was her fault, especially when the clerk made a phone call to a higher authority for help.
“I was listening to her conversation with the person on the phone and it said that one of us popped up as a fraud.”
The twins’ mom, Wanda Kennedy, shared in her daughters’ frustration at the ongoing bureaucratic snafu.
“After try, after try, after try, the system just would not accept them, and it kept saying that it was the same person, they finally said there was a problem and they had to call headquarters.”
The Georgia twins’ difficulty in getting their driver’s permits is just the latest in a long line of stories of innocent people caught up in unwieldy bureaucratic foul-ups caused by rigid adherence to computer processing. In a society that relies heavily on computers for day-to-day life, a simple mistake in input — even one made decades ago — can have repercussions for ordinary people caught up in the mess.
One such example is Luz Pabellon from the Bronx, New York. According to this Inquisitr report, a computer error caused her voter I.D. to indicate that she was 164 years old. Fortunately, her issue was more of a source of amusement than any real problems; she’s been able to vote with no problems, after all.
Other innocent people have found out, to their peril, that if some computer, somewhere, says that you’re on a no-fly list, good luck getting off of it. Malaysian academic Rahinah Ibrahim was erroneously put on the no-fly list, was never told she was put on the list, and had to sue to find out why she was on it in the first place, according to Huffington Post. In 2005, while attempting to fly to Malaysia via Honolulu, she was told she was on the no-fly list. She was eventually cleared to fly to Malaysia, but while there, her visa was revoked, and she was unable to return to the U.S. After years of waiting, and multiple lawsuits, she was eventually removed from the no-fly list; she is first and only person to do so, as of this writing.
The Georgia twins’ problem with getting their driver’s permits may not be quite so severe, but it still underscores the problems that can pop up when a bureaucracy relies heavily on computers in favor of common sense. As of this writing, the DMV is working with the twins to find a solution to their problem.
[Image via YouTube]