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Mark Atwood
unOfficial ID Card
A fun business idea I occationally mull over is to buy a high quality laminate card printer, the sort of thing that is used to make id cards, and make unofficial IDs. A general purpose ID card, with photo, name, address, number, etc. Press passes for "USENET News Service". "Member of the Right Wing Conspiracy". "Member of the Left Wing Conspiracy". "Real American". "Real Canadian". etc etc. All with pictures, holo foil, mag strip, bar codes, etc. And with carefully worded disclaimers on the back, in 1 point flyspeck.

It looks like a TV station has done something similar, making an unofficial self-created "Identity Card: Personal Travel Identification", and then used it to pass a reporter thru a TSA screen.


I am amused. :)

ID cards are an utterly stupid idea. Lawmakers, security consultants, and ID fetishists who require ID cards, they are utter morons. If your job requires checking IDs, for your own sanity, you need to understand that it's ineffective makework that your boss makes you do, not because it's actually useful.

The only provable thing that you learn when someone shows you their ID, is that they own a photograph of themselves. Wow, that's so much useful information...

When someone gives you their frikken business card, you actually learn more immediately provably true information about them then if you look at their "official" ID.

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Current Location: Liberty Cafe, Capitol Hill, Seattle WA

6 comments or Leave a comment
beamjockey From: beamjockey Date: May 15th, 2007 10:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
I see that a Senate hearing on the Real ID law is up on C-SPAN, and will probably remain there for a week or so. My pal Bruce Schneier, among others, testified.
zsero From: zsero Date: May 15th, 2007 10:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
If your job requires checking IDs, for your own sanity, you need to understand that it's ineffective makework that your boss makes you do, not because it's actually useful.
It depends for what purpose, and how important it is to keep out the wrong people. There are many cases where if no checking is done lots of people will try to scam their way in, but it's not worth their while to fake up an ID card for the occasion, and nor will it be the end of the world if you admit the occasional geek who always carried his fake ID with him. For purposes where it's really important to identify people, and the cost of passing the wrong people is high enough, there are biometrics and hard-to-fake documents that get checked carefully.

Admitting people airside at an airport isn't really all that important a function; if an unauthorised person does make it through, the odds of anything bad happening are quite small. So it's not important enough to justify a thorough check. In fact it isn't even important enough to justify the relatively casual check the TSA now uses. That is makework. The entire purpose of the TSA's existence is makework. It's the new WPA. Its function is to create jobs in the federal civil service, and workers whose union dues will fund donations to Democrats, and in whose financial interest it will be to vote for Democrats. Any change, positive or negative, in passengers' actual safety or convenience, is purely a side-effect.
roseembolism From: roseembolism Date: May 15th, 2007 10:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
I for one wouldn't mind a few ID cards labeled "Republic of Usenet", "RPG Grognard" or "Actually from California". Maybe for James Nicoll, you could whip up a "Deleted from Wikipedia" card?
paraventur From: paraventur Date: May 15th, 2007 11:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
They aren't hard to get. I have a very nice professional looking one that identifies me as Imperial Security, Special Interrogations (complete with seal). The only reason it might not get me into places is that part of it is in pseudo russian.
From: samildanach Date: May 21st, 2007 04:08 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm tempted to put one of these together myself...

... with an OpenID server as the database back end.
From: bolstrood Date: May 27th, 2007 09:47 pm (UTC) (Link)

Steve Wozniak has been doing this for a while

He bought one of the early dye sublimation printers and has had tons-o-fun with it. I especially like the "Laser Safety Officer" ID, complete with a photo of Woz wearing an eyepatch.

6 comments or Leave a comment