Mark Begich Logo

Get Updates:

Treadwell’s National ID Card

Company Founded by Treadwell Drove REAL ID Implementation


ANCHORAGE — U.S. Senate candidate Mead Treadwell’s company made upwards of $100 million while pushing for a national ID card. With Treadwell at the helm, Digimarc sought to put 240 million Americans in a database, a fact Treadwell has ironically tried to hide from Alaskans.

Treadwell speaks of his work for Digimarc in glowing terms on the campaign trail without telling Alaskans the company raked in hundreds of millions of dollars providing the technology for REAL ID, an invasive national ID program widely unpopular with Alaskans of all political leanings.

While Treadwell’s company spent lavishly lobbying for REAL ID Alaskans fought back against the policy as a major violation of privacy that allows government to monitor Alaskans.

“Almost everyday Mead Treadwell tells Alaskans the government ‘snoops too much’ while concealing his history of profiting from a national ID card scheme Alaskans roundly rejected as an invasion of privacy,” said Susanne Fleek-Green, Campaign Manager for Alaskans for Begich.

Treadwell founded Digimarc in 1995, a digital watermarking company that has controlled 70% of the national market for drivers licenses. While pushing for REAL ID, Treadwell’s company reported $1.2 million* in federal lobbying expenses as the company stood to make millions from the necessary web of government regulations and implementation of the controversial program.

Digimarc would tell Alaskans a national ID card provides an “upside” and is “potentially transformative for our company.”*

In 2008, Governor Sarah Palin rejected Treadwell’s federally mandated program and passed legislation prohibiting its implementation. The Anchorage Daily News wrote that the REAL ID program constituted what is “absolutely a national ID” remains “ a bad idea,” and ”will create a national database of information about more than 240 million Americans.”

Fast Facts about Treadwell’s Company, Digimarc:

· Treadwell founded Digimarc in 1995 and remains an investor in the company.

· Treadwell’s company brought in more than $100 million from driver’s license technology, controlling 70% of the market

· Digimarc spent $1.2 million lobbying for REAL ID

· Treadwell holds hundreds of thousands of dollars in stock assets in Digimarc

*2005-2007: Digimarc Spent $1.2 Million Lobbying On Issues Including REAL ID & “ID Security.” According to the lobbyist database, between 2005 and 2008, Digimarc spent $1.2 million lobbying on issues including REAL ID and “ID Security.” [Lobbying Disclosure Database, 2005-2007]

*Digimarc CEO: Announcement Of REAL ID Act Regulations “Potentially Transformative For Our Company.” “But for the domestic driver’s license market, today’s announcement is welcome news. The industry has experienced a 4-percent annual growth rate in revenue for the last two years rather than the historical 8-to-10 percent clip, said Bruce Davis, chairman and CEO of Beaverton, Ore.-based Digimarc. Digimarc has 70 percent of the U.S. driver’s license market. ‘Not only should the rate recover from the stall, but it should go significantly higher,’ he said. ‘This is a potentially transformative event for our company.’” [AP Financial Wire, 1/11/08]