I watched a movie recently where they are putting someone into Witness Protection and I started to wonder about the effectiveness of it.
A couple things that sprang to mind when watching this movie was two parts of the process that stood out like a sore thumb.
Now before I talk about the 2 components, let me just state that I am aware that it is JUST a movie and that it doesn't go into depths of how REAL
witness protection is handled.
#1 - Option to keep first name (Logic states it is easier to maintain your cover if you can naturally respond to your life long name)
This in itself doesn't mitigate what witness protection tries to accomplish, but it ties in with #2;
#2 - Issuance of a new drivers license.
This is where it falls down... In a world litigated by acts and statutes, we are strongly recommended to get a drivers license to drive.
Ok, so now this person in witness protection has been given a new drivers license with his original first name and different last name.
In conjunction with recognition systems available today, how is witness protection not rendered useless?
Let me rundown the process;
Assuming that the person that is trying to get the witness has some pull to actually get them.
Then lets assume they have access to the DMV licensing database (which includes photos).
With an image of their target and their first name, they would be able to find the location of the witness quite quickly
However, if the witness decided to change his/her first name as well, the bad guys could still find the witness relatively quickly with facial
That's where I think it falls down... You go through all this effort to hide someone, yet they chuck their face straight back into the system?
How does that work?
I am sure they have Marshals with them, but if the Marshals aren't expecting an attack, then their chances of protecting the witness dramatically
Is the modern day Witness Protection system just a con to make the witness "feel" safer?
edit on 8/1/2013 by Sovaka because: Syntax