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Blockchain, Biometrics: Utah Taps New Tech to Serve Citizens

CIO Mike Hussey talks about how the state is looking to streamline customer-facing processes like the transfer of vehicle ownership, as well as internal methods of screening for potential fraud and identity theft.

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. –– The state of Utah is well-known for innovation. It was one of the first to deploy an Alexa app to help new drivers practice for their driving test, the first (as far as we know) to pass legislation allowing autonomous vehicles to operate sans drivers and it’s one of several states with a central cybersecurity command center. So it should come as no surprise that it is looking to the next big innovation.

According to CIO Mike Hussey, the state is actively pursuing blockchain to better manage the vehicle registration process. Now in the early stages of the conversation, the overall process seems like the perfect fit for the technology. Hussey said rather than relying on pieces of paper, blockchain would offer a clear record of vehicle ownership and potentially save the state millions of dollars.

In a similar vein, artificial intelligence and facial recognition could soon help the state weed out identity theft and driver’s license fraud. As Hussey explains below, the tools could be used to compare older license photos to catch cases of fraud. While the idea is still in its infancy, the CIO says the technology could be a valid replacement for a process that now requires staff time and energy for side-by-side comparisons.

Eyragon Eidam is the Web editor for Government Technology magazine, after previously serving as assistant news editor and covering such topics as legislation, social media and public safety. He can be reached at