Utah Chooses Digimarc to Cut Down on Phony Drivers' Licenses and ID Cards

— December 06, 2006

The Utah Department of Public Safety Driver License Division has awarded Digimarc a five-year contract to cut down on fake IDs and guard against drivers' license fraud.

“Public safety is integral to our agency ' s mission, which is why we embarked on introducing new, redesigned and more secure State driver licenses, driving privilege cards for drivers who do not qualify for a Social Security Number, and non-driver identification cards,” said Scott Duncan, Commissioner of the Utah Department of Public Safety. The Commissioner continued, noting that “the security enhancements that we are implementing will make it easier to detect and deter counterfeiting and to protect our citizens against identity theft and fraud. Utah is taking a leadership role in the fight against fake IDs and in preparing ourselves for REAL ID compliance.”

With more than 240 valid driver license designs for the millions of licenses circulating in the U.S., traditional visual inspection is not adequate to determine the authenticity of these IDs. Utah's new driver license improves the effectiveness of inspection by incorporating machine-readable Digimarc digital watermarking and a visible security feature called laser perforation.

Laser perforation, which is micro-holes drilled by a laser and fully contained within various layers of the card material, increases the reliability of visual inspection and is very difficult for counterfeiters to simulate. Inspectors can hold the card up to a light source and see through these very small perforations. Digital watermarking goes further, providing trusted machine-readable cross-jurisdictional authentication of the driver licenses and IDs for law enforcement, TSA, border crossing agents, retailers and others who rely on inspection of IDs. Utah joins a host of other States who have adopted digital watermarking. Nearly 50 million circulating U.S. driver licenses carry digital watermarking security features, and Digimarc anticipates that about one in every two driver licenses issued in 2007 will include digital watermarks.

Together, digital watermarks and laser perforation raise the bar against driver license counterfeiting, alteration and photo swapping, providing Utah's citizens with a much higher level of security than prior licenses and preparing the State to meet anticipated federal ID security standards.

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