Washington (UPI) Feb 17, 2009
Advances in hologram technology can help combat terrorism and a global wave of counterfeiting that is costing more than $50 billion in lost revenue, industry experts said.
Ukraine's EDAPS Consortium, which is endorsed by Interpol, called the global incidence of counterfeiting an "epidemic" that threatened security and drained resources of governments. The global counterfeiting operations are believed by law enforcement experts to be worth about $1 trillion.
Hologram technology is being applied in an unlikely setting -- cigarette tax stamps that EDAPS said would save governments more than $50 billion in lost revenue.
Customized holograms for tobacco packages are part of a law-enforcement solution that is designed to cut off funds supporting organized crime and terrorism, "two consistent beneficiaries of the world's near trillion-dollar counterfeit and piracy plague," EDAPS said.
The company was responsible for an innovative e-passport adopted by Interpol, the first travel document of its kind.
The World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control has determined the traffic in an estimated 600 billion counterfeit and smuggled cigarettes crossing national borders annually represents $50 billion in lost revenue, affecting nations throughout the world.
Some 400 governmental organizations and companies use holographic elements produced by EDAPS Consortium.
"By combining state-of-the-art holograms with our enforcement methodology and Track and Trace System, we are enabling government agencies to double their revenues from the sales of excisable products while shutting down illegal uses that often fund transnational criminal activities," said Alexander Vassiliev, chairman of EDAPS.
Michel Danet, secretary-general of the World Customs Organization, singled out the holographic security elements as "a good example for other states" to follow.
Danet told the Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy that counterfeiters concentrated not only on new methods of counterfeiting but also on developing fake security elements including bogus holograms.
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund declared the introduction of anti-counterfeiting measures, such as forgery-proof tax stamps, essential to combating tobacco smuggling.
The new Ukrainian passport manufactured by the EDAPS Consortium won praise from the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. A driver's license produced by the company won commendation from the European Union.
Interpol's new e-passport is designed to enable agents to travel freely to combat cross-border crime and terrorism. Pakistan was the first country to provide visa waiver status to Interpol's e-passport.
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