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POLAROID ISSUES NEW STATEMENT ON THE MASSACHUSETTS DRIVERS LICENSE PROGRAM

 CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles appears determined to proceed at any cost to a centrally-issued driver's license system. In their public statements, they have attempted to define the problem as a simple competition between a central-issue system and the current over-the-counter system. They have eliminated altogether consideration of a third alternative: a system that can provide the advantages of a central storage with the security, convenience and economy of an over-the-counter system.
 The central-issue system proposed by the Registry is flawed and untested. However, the central-storage system proposed by Polaroid Corporation would provide Massachusetts with both a computerized image database for use by law enforcement officials and over-the-counter instant-issue issue capability. Furthermore, Polaroid's advanced digital scanning technology would provide the benefits and safeguards of a high-tech system at a much lower cost than the Registry's current proposal.
 There has been much confusion about these issues due to contradictory and sometimes misleading information from the Registry. For instance, the Registry has claimed:
 "(The proposed new system) would cut waiting time at Registry lines, provide drivers with more secure licenses, and crack down on license tempering and fraud."(a)
 The facts, however, are completely contrary to those claims:
 -- Every state that has tried a central-issue license system has experienced considerable difficulties in implementation. Both the New York and California legislatures are currently investigating delays, in some cases as long as several months, in issuing licenses.
 -- The licenses to be issued under the proposed new system are not more secure. The temporary paper licenses necessitated by a central-issue system are incredibly easy to fake (which is why they are not accepted as proof of identification). The centrally issued licenses are also vulnerable to fraud at the source (a problem not new to the Registry in Massachusetts or in other states).
 -- Concerns about fraud and tampering are serious issues. The Registrar declined to allow Polaroid to publicize the introduction of an important new security feature: hologram technology. This is critical because the hologram, in use since October 1992 in Massachusetts driver's licenses, is the most tamper-proof photo identification card on the market today.
 -- Unfortunately, the Registrar isn't the only one who's been mistaken about the facts. A recent opinion piece in The Tab cited a digitally scanned credit card system that has reduced fraud by 67 percent (b). The piece neglects to mention that this CitiBank credit card system relies on both photographs and digital scanners from Polaroid Corporation. Employing Polaroid instant photography image capture and Polaroid proprietary scanning hardware and digital imaging software, the CitiBank system is a model of a sophisticated cost-effective identification solution.
 Polaroid is today providing instant-issue, tamper-proof, central computer interface ID systems to many security-conscious agencies and governments that have taken the time to investigate and compare the costs and features of Polaroid systems with those of other vendors -- and selected Polaroid systems.
 Massachusetts taxpayers and drivers -- who, if the Registrar has his way, will be paying the full costs in terms of money, inconvenience and reduced security -- deserve the opportunity to have a full and fair hearing of all the facts. Legislators have the ability to insure that that happens; we call on them to exercise that power for the benefit of their constituents.
 ----
 NOTE: (a) The Boston Globe, 2/12/93, "A New Picture -- Registry Plans Digital Image Licenses"
 (b) The Tab, 4/6/93, "Legislators Blocking Fake ID Bill"
 -0- 4/15/93
 /CONTACT: Harry Johnson of Polaroid, 617-577-2665/
 (PRD)


CO: Polaroid Corp. ST: Massachusetts IN: SU:

TM -- NE012 -- 6356 04/15/93 14:58 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 15, 1993
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