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The History

During an American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators [AAMVA] conference in Ottawa in October of 2001, industry leaders and representatives of the United States Secret Service [USSS] met and discussed the problems that law enforcement was experiencing with regard to identification documents. Unlike genuine US currency paper, the card stock, card printers and security-type laminates were readily available to the counterfeiter.

Rick Outland, then Senior Document Analyst with the USSS, inquired whether it was possible to either prohibit the output of counterfeit cards or to implement some type of track and trace mechanism into all card stock and/or card printers. Paul Luxion of Advantage ID Technologies, Inc. and Larry Bowne of Eltron/Zebra agreed to further pursue resolutions to these issues. As a result, what is now an ongoing relationship based on law enforcement concerns and industry technology began.

The first meeting of what is now called the Document Security Alliance [DSA] was held on December 1920, 2001. The USSS convened a meeting of business leaders from the credentialing and identity document industry at their Headquarters in Washington, D.C. This initial meeting was considered ad-hoc and populated through emails and word-of-mouth. Over 40 companies, representing card and smart card manufacturers, biometric providers, system integration houses, security laminate/document providers, encryption organizations, data processing companies, proximity card providers, card printer manufacturers and law enforcement agencies were in attendance to share their experiences and examples of fraudulent documents.

The purpose of the gathering was to weigh the interest and commitment of industry to participate in a series of symposiums that would provide input from industry experts on possible methods to trace identification cards and/or documents to the point of personalization and manufacturing. The meeting confirmed a strong commitment on the part of the participants, and the group agreed to formally organize, form sub-committees, and explore alternatives to address the problems. The consensus was to focus the efforts of the multi-disciplinary group on improving the security and security procedures associated with identity documents.

The Development

Subsequent meetings have been extremely successful. Currently, the government agencies that have been active in the DSA include: U.S. Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Transportation Security Agency, Social Security Administration, U.S. Postal Service, State Department, Government Services Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, The White House, U.S. Treasury Department, Government Printing Office, U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, Central Intelligence Agency and Immigration and Naturalization Services. In addition, volunteers from over eighty worldwide companies and have organized committees within the meetings and have worked diligently to provide the group with recommendations on processes, methods, techniques and technologies that could be used to improve the forensic tracing of fraudulent documents. Participants at these gatherings have continued to include a broad representation from the credentialing industry including system integrators, card manufacturers, secure printing companies, printer manufacturers; security features producers, encryption organizations, biometric providers and security industry associations.

To date, DSA Committees have produced several white papers. One white paper, written by the Card Printer Committee, identifies technologies by which all ID related plastic card documents produced on plastic card printers can be traced back to the specific printer that produced them. Another white paper proposes that a task force be assembled to include members of the USSS and Homeland Security, DSA, GSA and NIST to explore and make the appropriate recommendations regarding interoperability.

The quality of the counterfeit documents that law enforcement encounters is continually changing as counterfeiters adapt their products in response to emerging security technologies. In order to remain ahead of this trend, government agencies have decided to partner with representatives from the industry in order to develop collective solutions on a variety of issues.

The Future

The goals of the DSA are continually aimed at improving security documents and security related procedures. The solutions that are developed will be provided to the appropriate organization as recommendations, white papers, and/or technical papers, to be utilized as those organizations deem appropriate.

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