State Department orders LaserVisas

Drexler Technology Corp. has received a $4.8 million order from the State Department for the company's LaserVisa identification cards, which are used by frequent visitors crossing from Mexico into the United States.

The order is part of an $81 million program with the Immigration and Naturalization Service for optical memory "green cards," which are issued to U.S. residents who are not citizens, and visa cards, which are being issued to those crossing land borders at Texas, California and Arizona.

An optical card system may be one that security officials will consider using in the wake of terrorist attacks Sept. 11 on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

"It seems ridiculous that when people check into the airport, they use their driver's license. It's very low-security," said Jerry Drexler, the company's chief executive officer.

The ID card includes personal data entered by INS, a color photo much like a driver's license photo and a laser-engraved image of the same face. If the two facial images do not match, the card is not valid. In addition, a third facial image is stored on the card in digital form and can be viewed on a computer monitor. The card also contains an image of the cardholder's fingerprint.

The State Department used the company's LaserCard Triple-Image ID cards for three years, and so far has issued 4.5 million visa cards. The INS has issued 4.5 million as well. The company has a five-year contract to issue up to 24 million cards.

The company, which had $20 million in revenues last year, also supplies optical memory cards to the Defense Department, the government of Italy and a state government in India.

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