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Infosecura - A magazine for the security printing industry worldwide

Launched over 20 years ago, Infosecura aims to engage, inform and maintain contact with the delegates of the SecurityPrinters conferences that Intergraf and its Committee of Experts organise every 18 months.

Edited by Manfred Goretzki, Assistant Director of Intergraf until 1990 and organiser of Intergraf's first ever SecurityPrinters (1976), the original newsletter quickly developed into a quarterly magazine, better suited to an industry that sometimes moves surprisingly fast.

Infosecura is filled with security printing news. Technical and product developments in the fields of banknotes and ID documents, fundamental issues that impact the industry and the occasional opinion piece are among what you can expect to find in its pages.

The mission of Infosecura is to deliver relevant, informative, thought-provoking and entertaining coverage of the industry.

Just like SecurityPrinters, it gives equal weight to the banknote and ID document sectors. Every issue carries articles relevant to both, while placing the emphasis on one or the other.

Submissions by industry personalities and companies that have made important advances are always welcome.

Advertising & publishing opportunities

Interested in advertising or submitting material for publication in Infosecura?

Please send your queries to Manfred Goretzki at mgoretzki@intergraf.eu.




New to Infosecura?

20 years of InfosecuraIts 20th-year anniversary issue is out!

Read our interview with editor Manfred Goretzki, the man behind the magazine since day one, as as he shares Infosecura 's origins, some of the many changes the industry has seen over the years, and what he thinks lies on the horizon for security printing.


Infosecura 81 - Copenhagen: here we come!

This is the final issue of Infosecura before SecurityPrinters, Banknotes+Identity welcomes delegates to Copenhagen, with Intergraf's Secretary General talking about what to expect.

But that is not the only story you will find here. There is a new threat to cash on the horizon: stablecoin, represented by Facebook's idea to launch the crypto currency Libra next year. We have comments from the head of the Bank for International Settlement and from a former central banker. And there are articles about companies: one on an important sustainability drive by papermaker Louisenthal and another on the fortunes of De La Rue. And two company landmarks to be celebrated: Swiss security printer Orell Füssli's 500th anniversary and UK paper maker Portals’s successful return to independence.

The ID side is represented by, among others, by an article on the last ICAO TRIP symposium and by a description of the efforts to improve breeder documents.


Back issues

Infosecura 80

Cash - where it is accessed and where it is counterfeited

The aim of Infosecura is to give an overview of issues that concern both the banknote and ID community. The two sectors are presently undergoing intense scrutiny, fighting the notion that the world could do without either banknotes or physical ID documents. But all too often, this is only a battle of opinions without recourse to well-researched findings.

Infosecura is therefore pleased to be able to report on two surveys that provide objective information on our involvement with cash, including fake cash: one that looks at its availability in the UK and another that comments on the finer points of banknote counterfeiting in Germany - such as where and how - and in the Euro area. And once again we take a look at the use of facial recognition technology, as well as further banknote and ID-related issues.


Infosecura 79

Not about politics but...

Infosecura is ostensibly not about politics. Of course, whether or not that is true depends on one’s definition of politics. The divisive issue of migration in the United Kingdom, addressed in this issue, illustrate this perfectly. A prime trigger for pro-Brexit voters in the referendum, it could perhaps have been handled more smoothly by introducing electronic ID cards. India's Aardhaar problems come equally close to the political fence. As does our article ‘Banknotes, not only for paying bills’, in the sense that it deals with the subtle influence of government actions - in this case images - on a given population. And as our next piece on facial recognition shows, new technology with great potential to do good (or not) tends to quickly become political. In the end, we probably have to admit that almost everything our industry does is political, as our products, both currency and ID, are mandated by government to render a service or influence the population. The difference is that, as an industry, we don't take sides.


Infosecura 78

The Good, the Bad and the Scary

Infosecura 78’s title by no means implies that the international field of currency and monetary policy has become like the lawless Wild West of 19th-century America. On the contrary, this issue is very much about order, and about law and order.

Take Intergraf’s ISO and CWA certification scheme, the subject of the first of its three main features: its purpose is to create trust between the manufacturers of the industry, both primary and secondary, and their customers. The link to Europol's 2018 Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA) is obvious and it makes for disturbing reading. Finally, Sweden's Riksbank second eKrona report, notably its recommendation to start a pilot for the first Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), should make banknote manufacturers, central banks and the population as a whole a little nervous.


Infosecura 77

Copenhagen was great last time. It will be even better in 2019

It's a promise! The last time SecurityPrinters went to Copenhagen, we could present an almost perfect venue and an excellent programme. The venue will be just as perfect this time round and Intergraf's Committee of Experts is working hard to put together a programme that will deliver even more.

In the meantime, this issue takes a look at the on-going discussions about cash and the research of central banks into its use; at the state of the banknote printing sector, both public and private; and at the banknote paper sector in Europe and beyond. On the ID document side, we offer different perspectives on passport paper and breeder documents.

And, a little out of the ordinary, an interview with the editor marks the 20th anniversary of this magazine.


Infosecura 76

Three days in Dublin

The title of this issue - Three days in Dublin - points of course to its main subject: SecurityPrinters 2018, held in Dublin last March.

There is a brief overview of the issues discussed and of the delegates’ number, countries and organisations or companies, and much further information linked to the conference.

We talk, of course, about passports, e.g. the tender for the new, blue UK passport that unexpectedly went to Gemalto rather than to the national favourite De La Rue, and the new Polish passport.

Cash is the other main subject, with the stealth war against cash waged by new retail business methods, thoughts by central banks about digital cash, difficulties at ATMs in India, and the story of the development of a commemorative banknote in Bhutan. A very beautiful banknote, this time from Armenia, also serves to introduce one of the articles about future strategies of the two largest companies in our industry.


Infosecura 75

Cyber - Security - Currency - Everything

The tittle of this issue - Cyber Security - Currency - Everything – refers, of course, to the keynote speech to be delivered at the next SecurityPrinters in Dublin (21-23 March 2018).

There are echoes of this ‘cyber everything' elsewhere in the conference programme. Yet this Infosecura is not just about Dublin.

The European Central Bank (ECB) report The use of cash by households in the euro area receives extensive coverage, as does the corresponding report from the USA. And of course there is an article on the rise and fall, and rise again, of Bitcoin.

For readers who wondered if replacing cash is even possible, we examine a good paper from the Central Bank of Finland that looks into the - remote and perhaps dubious - possibility of replacing central bank cash with a central bank digital currency CBDC.

Articles on the reissue of the old blue passport in the United Kingdom, on dangers to cyber governments, and on newly desired Irish passports then follow on the ID side.


Infosecura 74

2017: the year cybercrime hits home

This issue leads with a look at cybercrime, following repeated warnings by authorities such as Europol that 2017 is the year cybercrime hits home.

The Banque de France celebrated the 30th anniversary of its Counterfeit Research Centre more traditionally, by creating a - totally fictitious - banknote with material anyone can buy. Infosecura was there.

Several articles on banknote design, concentrating both on the aesthetics and politics of design, and on the need for cash when infrastructure fails.

The ID part reports on the last ICAO meeting on passenger information and travel security, as well as facial recognition technology, among others.


Infosecura 73

Invitation to Dublin

Infosecura 73 opens with an invitation and a call to register to the forthcoming SecurityPrinters, to be held in Dublin in March next year. Invitations have already been dispatched. By the time the print edition of the magazine reaches readers, they will have arrived. Or will be about to.

This issues tells the story of another newly issued banknote: the UK's new £10 polymer note. Of interest here are not so much technical issues as the fact that the public cares much about who is portrayed on the notes. When it seemed that no woman - except the Queen - would appear on them, it demanded a say in the matter. The result is that Jane Austen now graces the note.

A lengthy article on the reliability of automatic document inspection follows, together with further glimpses into both the ID and banknote sectors.


Erratum - In the printed version of Infosecura 73 and earlier electronic versions of Infosecura 73 and Infosecura 71, the advertisement for 'Ruhlamat - Production and personalisation of high secure documents' did not display correctly. Please download Infosecura 71 and Infosecura 73 again to view it correctly.

Infosecura 72

Speak up for cash

The cover of Infosecura 72 urges readers to 'speak up for cash'.

Its pages give space to institutions and organisations that did just that: the European Central Bank, the National Bank of Norway and the BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation. Their representatives are certain that cash has a secure place in the payment mix and will be with us for a long time to come.

The issue also looks at specific currencies such as the new 20 Swiss Franc banknote, at unexpected troubles with the new plastic £5 note and at the new €50 note which the European Central Bank sought to design with advice from a neuroscientist, before it found out that cultural issues demanded different solutions.

Identity documents likewise receive plenty of attention with reports on ID photo morphing, a somewhat whimsical design competition for a new UK passport, calls for biometric entry/exit controls, and Interpol’s efforts to fight people smuggling.


Infosecura 71

SecurityPrinters 2018, Dublin: get ready to be heard

Infosecura 71’s table of contents is dominated by three events: demonetisation in both India and Venezuela, and the introduction of a new German passport.

In the case of Venezuela, demonetisation has probably not improved an already bad economic situation. In India, however, the score sheet is less clear. Economic growth has slightly slowed down according to the World Bank, but the move has not dented Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity. His party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), very recently won a resounding victory in elections in the vital, populous state of Uttar Pradesh.

On the ID side, Germanys’ new passport demonstrates its preference for a very secure, technically advanced over a flashy travel document.

This issue also discusses several new banknote issues and, finally, gives a brief overview of the conference to come in Dublin in 2018, including its call for papers - an excellent opportunity to be heard by an audience of peers.


Excerpt - A central banker’s thoughts on payments: Banco de Espana welcomes Security Printers to Seville


Infosecura 70

The conference that updated the industry

The cover of this issue looks different. The main subject is, of course, the outcomes of the conference in Seville last October. But instead of the town's touristic wonders or architectural marvels, is the team that made it a very successful and enjoyable event. They look relaxed - the picture was taken after all the work was done.

A substantial part of the content closely examines some of the presentations . Also included is an interview with Efthimios Matsoukis, Chairman of Intergraf's Committee of Experts since 2003, who announced in Seville that he is stepping down in favour of Dieter Sauter of Orell Füssli.

The grand themes of our industry get another close look: the defence of cash, the potential dangers to printed ID documents, etc. And then there is the unexpected withdrawal of the Indian 500 and 1000 Rupee notes, announced shortly before we went to print. The consequences are still being felt all over India. We will again report and comment on this daring (or foolhardy?) experiment in the next issue.


Infosecura 69

Join us in Seville for SecurityPrinters

This is the preparation issue for the next 2016 SecurityPrinters in Seville in October and, true to its title, it examines some aspects of the programme.

One new feature is the number of panel discussions. There will be three of them. One in the Banknote High Meeting on 'co-operative business models banknote production'. Another in the Identity High Meeting, which will concentrate on the experience of one country alone, the USA, titled ‘United States next generation passport: lessons learned from key stakeholders’. And on the last day, Intergraf gathers six eminent personalities from our industry to discuss urgent questions under the title 'The future of banknotes and IDs'. Technological developments in the field of payment means and systems, of authentication and documents, and of consumer privacy and convenience will be at the heart of this discussion, with particular emphasis on security needs and user-friendliness.

But the conference is by no means the only subject of this issue. There is an extensive appraisal of the new €50 note, a comment on the international effort to suppress high denomination banknotes, and an interview with the Director of the Bank of Israel's Currency Department about the new Israeli banknote series, as well as articles on the new European Union Laissez-Passer and on the new ISO 19998 standard for tax stamps.


Infosecura 68

Finally... but it was worth the wait

This slightly enigmatic title refers to the long-awaited Swiss 50 Franc note, which was printed on a substrate, Durasafe, developed by Landqart on the behest of the Swiss National Bank. The article gives details of the artistic and technical innovations in the note.

Another Swiss banknote event was Banknote Horizon 2016, KBA NotaSys' equivalent to the Olympic Games. Held every four years, usually in Lausanne, it gives an in-depth view of the latest technical developments in banknote production.

These developments are the subject of two further articles on standardisation: one on Intergraf's ISO 14298 and another on the extension of it for hologram manufacturers.

The ID sector occupies the remaining half of the issue, with reports on Germany's efforts to register the flood of refugees that swept into Europe, improvements in breeder documents, integrated designs in government security, and colour pictures in polycarbonate ID cards.


Infosecura 67

Intergraf celebrates 40 years of SecurityPrinters

As the title suggests, this is a celebratory issue. Forty years of successful international conferences is quite an achievement. But, at least at this time, the sound of popping champagne corks did not pass the office doors. The celebration was largely confined to the editorial.

The serious part of the issue includes an interview with the head of the Central Counterfeit Office of the Belgian Federal Police, responsible for detecting both banknote counterfeiting and ID document fraud.

In another interview, we talk to the commercial director and head of R&D and Innovation at the Fabrica National de Moneda y Timbre - Real Casa de la Moneda in Madrid (Spain is the host country of the 2016 SecurityPrinters in Seville) and hear about the setting-up of a new printing company dedicated to printing Spain's allocation of Euro notes, IMBISA.

There are also a number of features on ID subjects, such as the successful rolling out of an electronic ID project in Iraq, an article that examines the problems associated with ID projects in crisis states such as Nigeria and Iraq, and a quick history of passports by Tom Topol. And finally for that sector, there is a look at often hidden technical advances in the new UK passport.

On the banknote side, Durasafe receives an appraisal ahead of the issue of the new Sfr. 50 note and the new Russian 100 Rubel note commemorating Russia's 'acquisition' of Crimea gets a critical look, as does India's banknote policy.


Infosecura 66

Will cash fade away?

Several pages of this issue are devoted to the future of cash. With more and more alternative methods of payment appearing, central banks are beginning to think seriously about whether or for how long they should stick to tradition and continue to issue banknotes.

In countries with a large 'black economy', the anonymity of cash is a headache for tax authorities. They would probably prefer traceable electronic payment methods only, but it is not up to them to make such a change.

However, there are important voices in central banking circles that argue for such radical measures. In September, Andy Haldane, the chief economist of the Bank of England proposed getting rid of cash altogether. The reason he advanced for such a move is that without cash, central banks could introduce negative interest rates, which is simply a charge on depositors who keep their money in the bank - instead of investing or spending it.

Negative equity is only practicable if there is no other way of storing money. Otherwise people would quickly convert bank deposits into cash. As the number of high-denomination banknotes in circulation - or perhaps better, at rest - in the Euro area and also in the UK and other countries shows, many savers already prefer to hide bundles of cash under the mattress, rather than putting them in the bank.

All this points to the inability of financial policy makers to boost spending and thus stimulate the economy. Mr Haldane said that it may be necessary to cut interest rates from their present historic low of 0.5 per cent to support UK growth and return inflation to target. He thinks that the logic of negative interest rates implies that there may be a need for a government-backed electronic wallet.

“This would preserve the social convention of a state-issued unit of account and medium of exchange, albeit with currency now held in digital rather than physical wallets.” Such an electronic wallet would also make every financial transaction traceable and, short of becoming 'honest', the money that is now swirling around the black economy would go to private virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin, where the money trail is totally untraceable.

Mr Haldane’s thoughts conflict with what the Bank of England’s Chief Cashier, Victoria Cleland, said when she promised that notes and coins are here to stay. She seems to mean it, as she announced that three of the bank’s four denominations would move to polymer, and thus last longer than paper notes.

Meanwhile central banks continue to investigate Bitcoin. The Bank of England published a paper in its Quarterly Bulletin. The European Central Bank in February released Virtual currency schemes - a further analysis. And Björn Segendorf and Cecilia Skinglsey of Sveriges Riksbank also published papers on the possible influence of virtual currencies in economic behaviour.

It is not Bitcoin itself but the underlying software that has caught the attention of government institutions worldwide. The Economist (30 Nov. 2015) wrote that the cryptographic technology whichunderlies Bitcoin, called the 'blockchain', has applications well beyond cash and currency.

It offers a way for people who do not know or trust each other to create a record of who owns what that will compel the assent of everyone concerned. It is a way of making and preserving truths.The Bank of England agreed by stating in a research note last year that distributed ledgers such as blockchains are a 'significant innovation' that could have 'far-reaching implications' in the financial industry.

We might be at the beginning of something important and we don’t know if it will turn out to be a great benefit or a disaster for our industry.


Infosecura 65

ID document and banknote production: the technology of trust

A banknote or an ID document is not WYSIWYG - what you see is certainly not what you get, what you get is much more than you see. What makes a pretty piece of paper or plastic into something of definite value - either defined in terms of money or as expression of identity - is trust.

Trust is the overarching theme of Infosecura 65, and we are looking at the question of cash, prompted by fears that cash may be on the way out in Scandinavia. Not that Scandinavians have stopped trusting banknotes, they simply trust electronic means of payment just as much. Are they right?

To make banknotes easier to verify and thus increase trust is also the reason behind De La Rue's 'Identify' series of security features, the subject of another article.

The EU's new digital strategy and the strong market growth in secure elements deal with institutional and marketing aspects of the 'trust business'. These are just some of the subjects written about in the current issue of Infosecura.

Enjoy reading!