Driver's licenses become smart cards

Digimarc, a company that specializes in providing driver's licenses, today announced the completion of a project that would integrate a silicon chip into driver's licenses. The card would meet new Federal requirements for proof of citizenship when crossing U.S. borders.

A current proposed plan is to require citizens without a passport to get a "PASS card" to cross the borders between the United States and Canada or Mexico. Digimarc's technology, would render the PASS card obsolete.

Digimarc's new technology could also enable "a range of contactless smart card technologies." According to the company, "personal data contained in the chip" could be linked "with data found in the digital watermark" and allow for fast validation of the identity of the cardholder." This could potentially be used to speed up the data processing in various scenarios law enforcement.

However, for now, Digimarc's main objective appears to be aiming at newly proposed border crossing restrictions. "Digimarc's smart card option for secure driver licenses keeps pace with emerging technologies and is responsive to States and Canadian provinces that want to maintain use of the driver license as an acceptable form of identification for border crossing. This new driver license solution is designed to give citizens a convenient and cost-effective alternative to the use of a passport or special 'PASS' card for border crossing," said Bruce Davis, chairman and CEO of Digimarc, in a prepared statement.