Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Economics of Fake IDs

Some states will begin using new watermark technology akin to that used on currency for drivers’ licenses next year…

While the backers of these efforts say they herald the demise of the fake ID, officers on the beat have doubts.

“They find a loophole and exploit it,” said Sergeant Planeta of the New York document fraud squad, which has arrested 90 people for faking documents since its formation last year. “We plug it, and they find their way around it. And it goes back and forth.”

So ends a story in today’s New York Times on college students forging ID cards. If you want to see a security system really tested, put it between teenagers and drinking or sex. I’ll bet on the hormones.

The sad part of this is that these free riders on the ID infrastructure cause enormous collateral damage. When every college student and immigrant in the country needs a fake ID, we can’t rely on them for those few things that might really benefit.

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