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Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Is That You? Prove It!

Getting a Counterfeit Driver's License is Getting Tougher
Italian NIC
The Italian NIC, sporting an embedded IC, has the owner's fingerprint encoded in a memory strip.
Artist's rendering of a possible U.S. NIC
South American Marketing Inc., Bay Minette, AL
An artist's rendering of a possible U.S. national identification card (NIC). On the reverse is a smart chip that could contain sophisticated biometrics.
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By Lee J. Nelson
Contributing Editor

In New Jersey, license renewal by mail has been discontinued; everybody must show up in person. At all of New Jersey's Motor Vehicle Commission offices, an undercover officer conducts surveillance by CCTV of anyone walking into a driver's license facility. Before entering a service line, a state employee checks two forms of qualifying identification. If a license is issued, a barcode on the reverse can be scanned electronically by police to verify the holder's identity. That is one of 22 collateral features built into the redesigned card.

Another state that may implement this technology is North Carolina. According to Americans for Legal Immigration (Raleigh), a political action group, North Carolina is a magnet for illegal immigrants seeking driver's licenses under false pretenses.

George Tatum, commissioner of North Carolina's Division of Motor Vehicles, says the state is ramping up protective measures and that it is a leader in installing facial comparison technology. Nevertheless, North Carolina remains one of ten states that do not routinely ask first-time applicants for explicit documentation of their legal presence in this country.

The measures and procedures that have been implemented at the state and municipal level represent a move forward in realizing a national identification card. Ultimately, such a card could replace all existing state-level drivers' licenses with the underlying digital content -- images, biometrics and text -- stored in a centralized government database.

A challenge to a countrywide identification initiative is to ensure the accuracy of the information used to construct supporting databases. Currently, more than 200 million driver's licenses are dispensed by the independent bureaus of 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Each jurisdiction maintains its own database, but all but two share information about "problem drivers" through a national registry interchange.



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