The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles began issuing...

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles began issuing new driver licenses and permits with upgraded security features to prevent counterfeiting on Thursday. Credit: NYS DMV News

Long Islanders can now receive new driver's licenses, permits and nondriver ID cards that have improved security features to prevent counterfeiting, the New York DMV announced Thursday.

The New York Department of Motor Vehicles began issuing the upgraded cards Thursday to those who apply for a new driver's license or ID and those who renew or replace an existing document.

DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder says the department introduces enhanced features every few years to stay at the "cutting edge of emerging trends." The agency's last new design was released in 2013.

"We are confident in the security features on our current ID documents," Schroeder said. "However, the new security features on our redesigned documents will keep us one step ahead of potential counterfeiters."

The new features on the cards are designed to verify their authenticity and to prevent tampering and counterfeiting, DMV officials said in a news release. Embossing on some of the card's text and images can be felt; some designs can be verified by touch and the naked eye. The embedded chip on the enhanced driver's license and nondriver ID cards are exposed, and the clear windows inside the new documents and the state seal have been redesigned using multiple laser imaging. When viewed from a certain angle, the driver’s photo will display their birth month and year.

Scott M. Jeffreys, a special associate professor of computer science at Hofstra University, told Newsday on Thursday that features such as the embedded chip would help the department stay one step ahead of counterfeiters by "actually being more costly to reproduce than otherwise."

"The idea is that consumers with these new licenses can be more assured that their license is uniquely issued in their name and only in their name and, whatsmore, that their personal security information is embedded in the card itself instead of being faked in some way," Jeffreys said.

Adam Wandt, an assistant professor of public policy at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, says upgraded security measures on such documents are necessary because fake driver's licenses "are pretty readily available."

However, Wandt said, more needs to be done to help businesses and average citizens help verify the authenticity of such licenses, as counterfeiters will eventually catch up to bypass security measures.

"No piece of plastic is one hundred percent foolproof, and unless it’s coupled with a technical solution that allows businesses and everyday people to scan it and verify it, the state isn’t doing as much as it could to prevent fraud," Wandt said. "And I think that’s what’s important … these technologies need to be better distributed to businesses who need them in order to verify that legitimacy."

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