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What is Security Printing?

The shift towards digitisation is evident, yet documents hold their ground of authority regarding utilisation. With the growing use of internet users, most of the population now knows how to Google things. This is used both positively and negatively.

The negative usage of the technology has always resulted in significant loss to the government, directly causing harm to the people. When we encounter digital evidence, it always has a trail behind it. The dots left can be joined up to yield fruitful information. Similarly, documents too should be made in a fashion that the origin of its root can be ferreted out.

Today’s challenges of counterfeiting and fabricating documents are due to the availability of superior calibre and lesser denominational value printers, coloured photocopiers, and a humungous number of publishing houses.

This is avoided by imparting security features to the substrate (paper) and the substance (ink) utilised in printing. Therefore, printing important documents is a significant and cardinal domain and is termed Security Printing.

It includes printing important documents such as currency notes, travel documents, certificates, stamp papers, identification cards and certain documents required for authentication.

The primary aim of security printing is to avoid duplication, alterations, or fabrications that are possible for a document. The type of printing is determined by the type of document to be printed.

As our substrate could be cardboard, plastic or paper thus, printing has to be chosen in accordance with the quality and integrity of the documents. Another aspect of this encompasses that pattern that has to be printed.

There are instances where the requirement is ink with heavy viscosity for the better functioning of the security feature. Simultaneously the requirement could be of a technique that incorporates an intricate design that would, in turn, provide detailing of the security feature.

With the constant use and abuse that goes on in the industry of Security Printing, there is an urgent need for better approaches that are more tamper-proof and are also cost-efficient at the same time.

Currently, the industry is not restricted to paper; its branches have spread to visual and aural documents such as images, videos and audios, algorithms, and digital documents.

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Thus this requires nontraditional methods for the incorporation of security features. Over the years, features that are readily visible to the human eye (overt features) and the features that require additional techniques for visualisation (covert features) have been incorporated into the documents.

Currently in use techniques includes distinct quality papers, unique inks, security fibres and threads, holograms, watermarks, and micro-lettering are a few most commonly and extensively used.

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But the counter techniques to these have been there in the market ever since. Thus, techniques such as moiré pattern, optically variable inks, 3-D printing of documents, encryption, hash algorithm, embedded digital signatures, quick response code, radio frequency identification chips, Omron-anti copying features, etc. used extensively.

These techniques utilised in Security Printing are an extremely important aspect of Questioned Document Examination.

The Faculty of Science, SGT University, is one of the best colleges in Delhi NCR for science courses. The faculty has five departments: Department of Physics, Department of Chemistry, Department of Mathematics, Department of Forensic Science, and Department of Environmental Science. The Faculty of Science offers 12 courses – 2 Undergraduate, 5 Postgraduate, and 5 PhDs.

Written By:-
Ms Faray Jamal
Assistant Professor
Department of Forensic Science
Faculty of Science
SGT University

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