It's good news
Maryland introduced its new, highly secure driver's license and state-issued identification card. It's good news for the state's residents, including millions of drivers who need a license to prove their entitlement to operate a vehicle; and for law enforcement too. Now when individuals renew their driving license or identification card, they'll be getting a high-tech ID card that keeps their data safe from tampering, and that makes it easier for police and other authorities to verify a person's identity.
But it's bad news
for the fraudsters, who'll be confronted with a wide array of security features that are virtually impossible to replicate.
These will include some particular engraved images – important Maryland symbols such as the state flag (see top left), the blue crab of the Chesapeake (bottom right) and the Baltimore oriole, the official state bird, which all appear on the new identification card.
The state-issued identification card is widely used as a photo ID by residents who do not have a driver's license or are too young to have one. Both are regularly handed over to verify a person's identity, for example, when boarding an airplane, getting a job or setting up a bank account.
Real ID concerns
Concerns about identity fraud and counterfeiting are driving many states to upgrade their DMV issued cards. And over recent years, we've seen an acceleration in new driver's license programs to improve security, but also to comply with the Real ID Act.
This Act, due to come into force in October 2020, but delayed to the end of 2021 because of the pandemic, has set out to improve the reliability of state-issued ID documents like the driving license.
The driver's license is seen as key to overcoming identity fraud because so many more people carry a driving license compared to other forms of ID like a passport. Law enforcement agents need to be sure that such government-issued identification documents are authentic and know that the document holder is who he or she claims to be.
The Department of Homeland Security continually updates the lists of US states, that are compliant with the Real ID Act, and whose driver's licenses will be accepted by federal agencies as proof of identity.
MD's driver's license is Real ID-compliant (Star on the upper right)
Visibly more secure
Maryland's new Real ID-compliant driving license includes many state-of-the-art security features that aim to help law enforcement spot a real from a fake license. Maryland's Motor Vehicle Administration opted for the latest in card material, security elements and personalization techniques that deliver optimal security and durability.
The Maryland state identification card uses the same material, security features, and secure personalization process.
At the heart of this solution
is a polycarbonate card that's impossible to delaminate as it fuses security elements into the inner structure, making any attempts to tamper with the laser engraved data immediately visible.
Among its wide assortment of easy to detect security features: an image that changes as you tilt the card, raised print for tactile verification and a unique machine-readable barcode.
A polycarbonate card, with its unique security features from laser-engraving to enhanced visual and tactile effects, makes it the material of choice for many government authorities for their secure identity documents.
- Over 40 countries use it for national identity cards or resident permit programs.
- Over 30 national passports are using polycarbonate for the data page.
- All driving licenses issued by the EU's 28 member states (including the UK)- a total population of over 500 million- are using this ultra-resistant plastic as of 2013.
Centralizing personalization and issuance
The secure technology features applied to the new Maryland driving license, and state-issued ID cards mean that documents will be produced and sent from a high-security Motor Vehicle Administration facility - a procedure already in use by state and federal agencies in over 30 US states.
Thales has been working with state officials in Maryland to prepare for the transition to the new personalization and issuing procedure for driving licenses and ensure the protection of Maryland drivers and their personal information.
Drawing on Thales' experience of providing secure documents, identity solutions and services in more than 200 government programs worldwide, Thales and its local company MIDS are active in numerous US driving license and vehicle registration projects including the states of:
- New Hampshire,
- West Virginia,
- District of Columbia,
- West Virginia,