Security document news in brief

Selection of passportsUpdates from Intellicheck Mobilisa, Giesecke & Devrient and Bundesdruckerei, Gemalto, Document Security Systems and Zetes.

Wireless security company Intellicheck Mobilisa has been awarded a US patent on a system to track down fake identity cards and help retailers avoid fines or loss of tobacco or liquor licenses, and potentially civil and criminal penalties. The system relies on automatically cross-checking various forms of identification - including a driving license, passport or credit card - using an artificial intelligence algorithm to find differences that may not be apparent from visual inspection alone. The company's chief executive Nelson Ludlow noted recently that given security breaches such as occurred with Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, officials are debating whether someday two forms of ID may be required.

Giesecke & Devrient and Bundesdruckerei have agreed to set up a joint venture - called Veridos - that will focus on selling secure identification systems such as passports and identity cards into international markets. The JV will be based in Berlin, Germany, and employ around 400 staff when it starts operations. G&D will own 60 per cent of the business with Bundesdruckerei owning the remaining 40 per cent and it is expected to be created officially in the middle of this year, subject to the usual antitrust approvals. The two companies have already worked together closely on projects such as the Latvian driving license and electronic ID card for Kosovo, and say the international trade in security documents is growing at around 5 per cent a year.

Digital security specialist Gemalto is set to supply its Sealys eCover for electronic passports - a laser-engravable polycarbonate datapage and cover that can carry an embedded microprocessor and antenna - as well as associated eTravel software to the government in Algeria.  The company suggests that the global conversion from paper to ePassports is continuing at a fast pace, and that by 2017 more than half of all travel documents issued worldwide will embed a microprocessor.  Meanwhile, Gemalto has introduced a new technology - called Sealys Colour - that allows high-quality colour photographs to be permanently embedded into the polycarbonate documents, a feature which it says is unique in the marketplace.

Document Security Systems saw a slight dip in first-quarter 2014 revenues - down around 5 per cent to $3.6m - with the decline attributed to delays in packaging orders booked by its printed products business. The company posted a net loss of $3.1m in the quarter, in part on the back of rising costs as it bought rights to patents to complement and reinforce its intellectual property (IP) portfolio. The company also said it had secured a second contract for its AuthentiGuard platform in the sports merchandise and entertainment markets the wake of the appointment of former NFL player Pat McInally to its board.

Zetes has started distributing personalised new ePassports in Belgium under the terms of its five-year contract with the Belgian government signed last year. Zetes is responsible for personalising and distributing the passports, which deploy Gemalto's Sealys ePassport technology.  Over 500,000 biometric passports will be personalised each year, according to Zetes, whose chief executive - Alain Wirtz - said: " Everyone expects their personal data to be managed and handled with the greatest protection possible, and rightly so. That’s why we’re constantly investing in new technologies, our infrastructure and the latest, advanced certifications."

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