• Image-capture, -processing, and -reproduction technologies, both current and predicted, pose a significant known threat to the security of Federal Reserve notes. The security of FRNs often depends solely on the casual viewing of two-dimensional printed features in reflected light, notwithstanding the deterrence value of the feel of the note, security strip, and watermark.

  • Future innovations in flatbed scanners and other methods for capturing images are not likely to be an area in which technology will further aid the counterfeiter in the next 5 or 10 years. Scanning quality along with the capture of color features and other image characteristics is already adequate for many counterfeiting activities.

  • Printer technologies, including low-cost thermal ink-jet printers for home use and other ink-jet printers and electrophotographic printers, produce counterfeits that can be passed, even though the notes are poor reproductions. However, piezoelectric ink-jet printers may prove to be quite useful to counterfeiters as they provide a noticeable improvement in print quality.

  • Improvements in consumer-grade scanners may occur. These new scanners are likely to further enable the opportunist counterfeiter to close the quality gap with today’s professional criminal counterfeiters.

  • In the future, substantial improvements in the automation of image-processing algorithms are expected to help the less-skilled user process images like a graphics expert. Automated capabilities such as line-width control, uniform image appearance, and color balance would enable an ordinary user to easily obtain an optical image that is very faithful to the original.

  • Emerging technologies are targeted at improvements in desktop capabilities; these improvements will continue to limit the ability of any two-dimensional printed image to deter widespread counterfeiting successfully.

  • The convergence of printing, manufacturing, and advanced materials technology may offer significant new capabilities to professional counterfeiters in the future.

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