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Arjowiggins Security Buys Signoptic

(From a World Press Online news release of February 1, 2012)

Security document and solution provider Arjowiggins Security has recently acquired Signoptic. The company has what it is calling a "breakthrough technology" which could have relevant applications in the tax stamp and ID document domains, and will take the centuries-old smart paper solution provider in a "unique and intriguing direction."

The technology of the same name--Signoptic--is based on what is termed "fingerprinting," whereby the unique and intrinsic characteristics of the product (e.g. the substrate) are used as the means of authentication (as opposed to the addition of features such as taggants, etc). This is based on key principles of physics: that a structured matter has uniquely random but stable characteristics that cannot be reproduced. These characteristics can be captured and converted into codes that can subsequently be matched back to the product to authenticate it.

Arjowiggins Security is already a provider of tax stamps to countries in Europe, South America, and Eastern Europe and the new technology could provide a level of additional security and both authentication and identification. For countries not yet using physical tax stamps, the system could, it says, be a cost-effective introduction into tax stamp systems that has the advantage of being invisible to the consumer.

According to Arjowiggins, Signoptic could mark a sea-change in tax-stamp technology whereby governments and product manufacturers do not apply a physical label, but use a digital tax stamp. Critically, the difference between this and other digital tax stamps so far proposed is that it adds nothing to the product, with no invisible inks or marking codes: the product itself is the identifier. The solution is already operating on production lines for several global luxury goods manufacturers. It is also being used by the Royal Canadian Mint to track coins.

The images captured are converted into codes and stored on a database, along with such information as the production facility, to provide a history or pedigree of product. Authentication is via specially developed readers equipped with telecom connections that again capture the image, convert it and relay this to the database, where it is matched with the stored code. By scanning materials at the rate of the production line's output, the company can ensure the system works for even the highest volume applications.

Arjowiggins Security has found widespread interest in the system amongst issuers of official documents, notably for its ability to provide an exceptional level security that cannot be copied. It notes that the innovative technology promises to be both a cost-effective and environmentally friendly technology by providing universal, reliable and real-time unitary authentication of a product's own material composition. Beyond tax stamps, applications are expected to include documents such as passports, birth certificates, and driving licenses.


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