Matching Problems in Indiana?

The Indianapolis Star reports today that

The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles could revoke driver’s licenses for as many as 56,000 people later this month after a database check showed discrepancies in some of their information.

The state also will send notices warning of a similar revocation to about 35,000 people with identification cards. But the actual totals probably will be smaller in both cases. “We think that’s the upper limit,” BMV spokesman Dennis Rosebrough said Friday.

The BMV started a verification project in November that involved matching its records with a Social Security Administration database. It checked more than 6 million records and found 206,000 cases where its data didn’t match the Social Security information. The agency then started sending letters to those people warning them that their identification cards or licenses could be revoked. About 82,000 people verified their information, and another 33,000 cases were resolved because of reasons like the drivers moving or a license expiring.

Mismatches were created by typos or people getting married and changing their last names. “The great majority of the mismatches that occurred were what we would call innocent or inadvertent kinds of things,” Rosebrough said.

Given that we wrote a report for the IBM Center for the Business of Government on database interoperability and one of the key issues in that report is the topic of database structure and matching, we are shocked (shocked!) that there would be problems with such matches.