MVC Honored with National Security Excellence Award
Advocacy group recognizes NJ’s achievement in secure driver licensing process
(click on photo for hi-res image)L to R: MVC Board Member/Acting Highway Traffic Safety Director Gary Poedubicky, MVC Chairman and Chief Administrator Raymond P. Martinez, Coalition for a Secure Driver's License President Brian Zimmer and Charles McKenna, Director of the NJ Office of Homeland Security & Preparedness.
(TRENTON)– The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission was honored yesterday by the Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License (CSDL) and presented with the group’s prestigious National Security Excellence Award during a ceremony at the MVC’s Trenton Office Complex. On hand to accept the award from CSDL President Brian Zimmer were MVC Chairman and Chief Administrator Raymond P. Martinez and Charles B. McKenna, Director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.
The CSDL, a national non-profit, crime prevention, educational, public charity based in Washington, D.C. recognized the MVC for three specific achievements related to driver license credentialing: the security and integrity of the new Enhanced Digital Driver License (EDDL), the introduction of fraud prevention measures and the implementation of an effective identity verification process.
“This is a great honor for all the employees of this commission,” said Martinez. “We have worked diligently to put in place security measures, both physical and process-related, which protect the integrity of our systems and the personal information and identities of nearly 6 million licensed drivers.”
“Receiving this award affirms the correctness of the state’s strategy to adopt a secure driver license that guards against fraud,” said McKenna. “The Enhanced Digital Driver License prevents criminals and terrorists from furthering their illegal activities through identity theft, which helps keep us safer.”
In addition to presenting the National Security Excellence Award, Zimmer also recognized the members of the MVC’s Enhanced Digital Driver License project team for its commitment to security in rolling out this new credentialing system. Since 2010, the team, which is comprised of employees from various MVC divisions, has worked to develop the technical and security requirements of the new license, conducted system testing and training, coordinated facility requirements and began work on the implementation of facial recognition technology.
“This award is well deserved for many reasons. The EDDL initiative is complex, and has required first rate planning and management skills to bring it into action within the first two years of a new administration,” said Zimmer. “This initiative has taken many, many hours of hard work and internal coordination by the team of state employees who have been the key to bringing about important security changes. The end result of this effort will be diverse benefits. For Garden State residents, it will contribute to reduced identity fraud risk. Most importantly, it will aid law enforcement and homeland security officials to safeguard public facilities from terrorists, and to improve public safety by getting imposters off the highways.”
The EDDL, which was fully implemented in all 39 MVC agencies in May 2011, builds on the security first introduced in 2004 with New Jersey’s first digital license. The new license, while similar in appearance to the old license, features more than 25 covert, overt and forensic features designed to reduce fraud and abuse through updated technology and enhanced security features that are known only to the MVC and its law enforcement partners.
“While even our newest license is one of the most secure, ongoing events remind us that we must remain vigilant and stay one step ahead of those criminals who would seek to perpetrate fraud and illegally obtain this valuable form of identification,” Martinez said.
The new EDDL is also considered to be materially-compliant under REAL ID standards. The REAL ID Act of 2005 is a federal law that imposes certain security, authentication and issuance procedures for state driver licenses and state ID cards in order for them to be accepted for “official purposes” as defined by the US Secretary of Homeland Security.
Presently, the EDDL project team is involved with the early stages of implementing facial recognition technology to review 16 million photo records. This new technology will greatly aid the MVC in its move next year to central issuance of driver license renewals by providing the flexibility it to investigate possible fraud before a “final” license is mailed to its recipient. The software used in the MVC’s new EDDL issuance system enables agency personnel to take clear and accurate photos of each license applicant.
Introduction of the EDDL is just the latest in a long line of security and fraud prevention measures that the MVC has put in place, including a strict identity verification process, security-enhanced license plates and temporary registration tags, thorough employee and business partner background checks, physical facility visitor access controls and a comprehensive document fraud training program, which even outside partners have taken advantage of over the years.
Regularly partnering with state and local law enforcement agencies, the MVC has also played a very active role in the criminal investigation of various fraud, identity theft, stolen vehicle cases that, in 2010 alone, led to 278 arrests. Some of the most prominent investigations in recent years have been Operation Southern Drawn and Operation White Cloud, which showed the direct relationship between the sale of fraudulent identification document, the sale of stolen cars, car jackings and the illegal sale of guns and drugs.