Photo ID Cards. Who Needs Them Anyway?

It’s surprising to see how many organizations outsource their identification needs. Is it simply because of the expense incurred when an organization decides to implement some type level of required identification cards? Sometimes the identification requirements are dictated by law and other times it’s simply to give an organization a higher level of credibility. Regardless, many companies are finding solutions other than purchasing expensive software and plastic card printers.

Personally, since I’ve been in the identification and tracking industry for over 10 years, I have worked with many different types of organizations in helping them develop solutions for their registration or simply photo identification needs. One thing that has become clear is the providers of these services have either chosen the high road or the low road. Many of these service providers have become self governing to ensure only individuals that should carry identification proving the person is really a police officer, EMT, or whatever the case may be. While others have chosen a more profitable route of selling ID cards to anyone who is willing to pay the price. You can search the internet for “Fake ID Cards” and you will find a plethora of companies that will provide you a card that will cost as much as $30. When searching for a legitimate solution the range is commonly in the $4 to $8 range. Because of the high level of profit, it’s easy to understand why some would choose that more lucrative path.

If you accuse the organizations that have chosen to sell fraudulent identification cards of breaking the law, you have to look at the fine print in their advertisements. Many offer “novelty” identification to anyone willing to pay the price. Or you will find that some may not be based in the same country that their goods are being sold. So deciding that the companies that have chosen to sell fake identification are engaged in illegal activity isn’t always the case simply because of the fine legal lines that are drawn.

So I have to question myself as to whether or not, ID cards mean anything anymore since it’s so easy to purchase false identification. Although if we look around we find that many individuals and companies are required to have IDs even for the simplest of services. Financial institutions commonly require two photo ID cards to cash a check or start a new account. TSA at the airport demands a form of photo ID card as do many other security personal to enter a protected area. Everywhere we look someone is requiring some form of photo identification from us.

Legislation was recently passed that allows a retired police officer, if he carries an identification card stating his retired status, to carry a firearm anywhere in the US. Many states are now requiring private detectives and bounty hunters to carry identification to perform their duties. Although you might find it surprising that there is not a government agency that supplies these required ID cards, so all of these individuals have to search out a provider.

Beyond being required by law, if I consider an emergency services person such as an emergency medical technician or fireman I even have to admin that seeing photo identification on them makes me much more comfortable. So I guess ID cards are needed even in the sectors of society that are not mandated to carry ID cards.

So, as long as our society doesn’t trust someone just upon their word, I’m sure we will be in a culture that requires some form of identification. Future technologies may change what is required for credentials, but in my observation, we will always need some type of photo ID card even if it’s just for the latest book of the month club we joined.

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