LTO driver’s license processing a disservice to the public

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AL S. VITANGCOL III

Last of 2 parts
THE “Dermalog Data Capture” form that had to be filled out during the driver’s license renewal process is an outright oxymoron in the information technology (IT) world. The data capture form asks for the driver’s full name, birthday, license number and blood type, among others. These are already stored in the LTO’s system. Why is there a need to capture it again?

It seems that somebody, or some people at LTO, or even their IT provider, does not even know the basic principle involved in capturing data in IT systems.

Redundant data capture, multiple steps data inputting, and substantial human intervention affects the quality of data being stored in an IT system. The decision about what data to capture affects the overall performance of the system and the processing time because the adage “garbage in, garbage out” is still true.

Not knowing the basics

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For the information of the LTO, there are two types of data that should be captured—data that changes or varies with every transaction, and data that specifically differentiates that particular transaction from all other transactions. Static data should never be recaptured!

The driver’s full name, birth date, and parents’ names are examples of static data. The license number, although static, is the differentiating data (commonly known as the “key”) and has to be entered to trigger the processing.

The computer can store and access the required information easily—without the need of writing them down on paper and inputting them again in the system. Doing this is a sheer waste of time and a clear revelation of the lack of technical savvy on the part of the IT system provider (or those who contracted them in the first place).

I submitted the filled-out Dermalog Data Capture form in Window 2. I waited for several minutes and was called to Window 4, with the label “AMPI”. I was asked to sign electronically and had my picture taken. After a few minutes my name was called at Window 5, with the label “DERMALOG”. For the second time, I was photographed and my electronic signature taken. Upon inquiry, I was told that one was for the AMPI’s system and the other for the Dermalog’s system. What is wrong with the LTO’s systems? Data can just be shared or extracted. For obvious reasons, which obviously is not obvious to LTO, it is an absolute no-no to capture the same data twice!

By using the best features of the computer, together with an efficient data capture design, needless data entry can be avoided, which in turn alleviates much human error. The simple concept of entering data only once can save enormous data entry time. It is rather unnecessary to reenter information that the computer has it already stored.

My name was thereafter called at Window 3. There was a screen displaying the data that I wrote in the data capture form. I was asked if they were correct and I said maybe, just because I had not memorized my license number in the first place. How would I know if what was displayed was correct?

After about 30 minutes the cashier called out my name. I paid P652.63 for a driver’s license with a five-yearvalidity period. Fair enough. That translates to only P130.53 annually.

In just nine minutes?

Finally, my new driver’s license was released at Window 6. It took two-and-a-half hours for the whole thing to be finished—refuting the claim that it can be issued in just nine minutes.

On September 6, 2017, it was reported that Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade went so far as to apply for a new license to test the system’s efficiency. The report stated that it took him from eight to nine minutes only to receive his five-year card. Moreover, Secretary Tugade boasted that it has 32 security features, 22 in front and 10 at the back.

I examined my newly issued card. The picture is in black and white. The only item that was laser-engraved was the expiration date. There was only one hologram and the picture does not change when tilted or viewed from another angle.

The person to be notified in case of emergency is indicated at the back of the card. The address is likewise shown there. I wrote a specific address in Makati City as the address of the person to be notified. However, the words “SAME ADD.” were instead printed in the card. A clear mistake in the data capture process because of human error and flawed systems design.

It was widely publicized that the new driver’s license card has 32 security features, 22 in front and 10 at the dorsal portion of the card. I don’t think so. In my opinion, not all the supposed security features are in the actual card. In theory, perhaps.

Lacking some security features

Based on the terms of reference (TOR) for the drivers’ license card with five-year validity project, one visual security that must be incorporated in the card is the DOVID, or diffractive optically variable image device. This is normally done by applying a transparent holographic foil, which allows a subsurface image printing.

The DOVID effect—color permutation should be seen when the image is rotated at 90 degrees. The other DOVID effect—rolling linear reflective movement—should be visible when the image is tilted up and down or left and right. Both of these effects are absent in the new driver’s license card.

The TOR further specifies the presence of a hidden image (in the driver’s photograph) with variable key information. Again, this is not found in the new card.

A reliable LTO insider revealed that the partner of Dermalog, which is supposed to supply the security laminates to produce the DOVID effects, backed out of the partnership at the last minute due to a financial disagreement. Hence, the new driver’s license cards lack some of the required security features – all in contravention of the requirements of the TOR.

The LTO has once again done a seeming disservice to the paying public.

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