New California Driver License Security Features

The State of California has added a list of security features (some public, some secret) to its drivers license. The LA Times says it was designed to thwart counterfeiters.

Among the new features, licenses for drivers under age 21 will be printed vertically, making them easier to identify for police and shopkeepers. The cardholder’s signature and birthday will be raised, allowing them to be felt by touch.

Hidden images can be seen only with the use of ultraviolet light, and a laser perforation outline of the California brown bear will be visible when a flashlight is pressed against the back of the card.

The back of the card will still have a magnetic stripe but will also have a 2D barcode; both store information from the front of the card.

The new license was only just released but already I hear licenses from Nevada and Oregon are more common. California says they issue about 8 million licenses and ID cards a year. Will a change in that rate number be linked to these security measures?

On the flip side inside jobs are usually the most dangerous; the new CA license will definitely carry more weight but will it have the appropriate protection of the source? A certificate authority’s certificates are only as good as…

I am excited to know my signature will soon be easily copied with a piece of paper, some charcoal and a little pressure.

Updated 2019: So many people are coming to this post I wrote in 2010 to find out about the “Real ID” cards that have been available since January 22, 2018, due to a deadline of October 2010 for federal security. Valid U.S. passport will be required after October 2020, if you don’t have a Real ID card. California DMV has a Real ID portal site.

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