Friday, February 29, 2008

Identity card plot leads to arrest

And one more story today out of Florida about fake ID cards...
Elias Barahona, 44, of Hialeah, was arrested Wednesday and charged with nine counts of knowingly selling, manufacturing and delivering forged identification and nine counts of possessing forged identification. (read it all here)

We are guessing after 15 years at this trade the forger will be off the streets, oh say....about 15 days, but hey, he did offer a discount! Secure ID card? It's up to you.

Fake ID Cards, Philly Style - Part 2

When we blogged this story we were amazed. It gets even better. In the headlines today...

Photo truck returns after fake-ID bust

Neither trumpets nor thunderclaps heralded the return of Rosa Photo to Callowhill Street this week.

Instead, the passport-photo truck that was hauled away in disgrace three weeks ago after cops busted four workers for allegedly selling fake IDs there rolled quietly back to Callowhill on Monday, back into business and back into fierce competition. (more here)

What can we say? How about it really is amazing that the very folks that were offering to sell fake ID cards and got caught with about 1000 on hand are back in business. Evidently that gets you off the streets for about 21 days in Philly. Again, photo ID cards can be as secure as you want to make them, but security features do need to be designed into the card right from the start. With low penalties and high rewards for card forgers, the small extra cost of a more secure card would seem to be an easy decision.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Recycled Bottles made into Lanyards

Here's a great way to wear your badge or ID while boosting your "green" status.
Although the "green living" push seems to be a drum that gets beaten more often recently, it does make a difference. If you already use lanyards, chances are you are buying them from a supplier that uses only first-use polymers to weave the fabric. Recyclables are used in so many other items, so why not lanyards? View the product PDF here.
These promotional products (EcoLanyards and EcoReels) are made from items that might otherwise end up being in a landfill, and then eventually a golf course. It's nice to have an environmentally friendlier choice when you shop for this type of item.
The EcoLanyards are printed on fabric made from recycled beverage bottles. The color quality is excellent and the feel of the material is the same as the standard polyesters we see from other manufacturers.

The EcoReels are made from plastic recycled from various sources, so the available color is limited to basic black, but whats more versatile and hip than basic black? I can't think of anything. Both are custom imprint ready, so what's to stop you from making the green switch? Nothing.
I want to see more products that work and are also green, by the way.

Some items I didn't know were "green" but I love to wear were already in my closet at home! Bamboo clothing is made from a fast-growing sustainable. So is cotton though. It turns out that my favorite Wilco T-Shirt is bamboo. Capilene (a-la patagonia) is made from recycled polyester, and it's super-warm. More and more companies are turning to recyclable and renewable items for everyday applications. The switch is on!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Officials to tackle security gap

From Jackson, MS we read:
Melton and his two police bodyguards flew armed on flights from Jackson and other airports on several occasions after his 2005 election. Before TSA asked the mayor to leave his guns at home, Melton was able to bring them aboard flights by displaying a gold badge with the word "mayor" on it and a letter from then-Jackson Police Chief Shirlene Anderson indicating he was a law enforcement official. (more here)

Yikes! I'm pretty sure I have a happy meal badge around here somewhere!

Monday, February 25, 2008

No ID? Then no internet for you!

From India we read:

It seems the gravity of the Kolkata police’s order asking cyber cafes to check photo identity cards of visitors and recording their details, is lost on some cafes. The order issued by police chief Gautam Mohan Chakraborti came into effect on Saturday.

Turning a blind eye to the order, a section of cyber cafe owners refuse to implement it. Their excuse — they have not been “informed officially”. (more here)

Wow! Do you think this could happen in the USA? Wouldn't it make more sense to create a loyalty card situation where cafe owners would actually promote card use due to benefit to the cafe (more regular business) and the card holder (discounts if you have one). That should would hold down fake cards and sidestep civil liberties issues.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Fieldcrest hopes student ID badges add to security

“Our ultimate goal is better security,” he said. “When (Superintendent Randy) Vincent asked me what was on our wish list this year, this was my biggest thing.”

Lapp said the ID badges were part of that security effort, as well as fixing locks around the building and controlling the flow of traffic on the campus. (the whole story here)

We say better security in our schools takes an integrated approach to be effective. ID cards are not bullet proof, but a good ID card and Visitor Management program plays a significant role in school security.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

School shootings: What can be done?

School security expert Pat Fiel weighs in on how to minimize violent incidents.

Number 2 on the list: Add a badging/card access system for students to enter the building, and funnel them through limited access points.

Did you know that school visitor systems can be set up to scan the national sex offenders database? Spending this budget money should be an easy choice!

Monday, February 18, 2008

ID Cards Keep Kids Safer - for Free

  • Kids need photo ID in the case that they are missing and a recent photo is not available. I would guess grandparents would be the first source of such pictures (insatiable photo-consumers in my experience) but what about the personal data? I think this is a great service and I'd like to see more community organizations and Police Departments taking part in programs like this around the country.
  • As a parent, would you want / allow a fingerprint and photo to be stored on police record for the child?
  • Would you take advantage of this service?
  • If so, would you be willing to pay for it?

Thanks to the local police in Syracuse, you don't have to. Syracuse Police are issuing photo ID cards to all children in the area as part of their "SafeKids" program. This program allows parents to get two printed copies of a photo ID card with their child's picture and data, at no charge.

Way to go SPD! Keep up the good work.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

NY Fan with Lanyard and Ticket Holder hangs with the Giants

This is a pretty incredible account of "Joe" going practically anywhere the Giants went during their victory celebration in New York. Thanks to his souvenir lanyard and super bowl ticket-holder, this guy was actually let in wherever the team went. Amazing!

Event security managers are lucky this guy is a fun-loving fan and not a baddie.
What a story, and photos to back it up can be found here.

My questions are,
  • Should credentials be used whenever there is an event of this magnitude?
  • If so, why not check everyone's photo id or credential every time?
  • How great is it that this guy is such a super fan?

Friday, February 8, 2008

Super Bowl Lanyard and Ticket Holder

You say crazy guy.
I say nice lanyard!

Lanyards and Ticket Holders are increasingly popular purchase items at big events like the Super Bowl.

Photo Credit SI

National ID Cards in the UK

News Story One
The British public is evenly split on ID cards - 47 per cent think they're a good idea while 50 per cent think not.
News Story Two
Support for the UK’s national ID card programme continues to plummet as one quarter of people say they are strongly opposed to the scheme.

I say forget about high end technology in the UK. Use the funds to invest in a better country wide math program!

Fake ID Cards Philly Style

This from the news, edited for your viewing:

The weathered white van marked "Rosa Photo" has been a fixture for years on Callowhill Street, dispensing passport photos and other documents.

Yesterday, capping an investigation into fake IDs, Philadelphia police shut Rosa Photo down.

Major Crimes Unit supervisor Lt. Ed Zachwieja said four employees of the company were arrested, and two vehicles (including the van) were impounded in the bust, which netted copies of 1,000 cards that appeared to be fraudulent IDs.

The cards, imprinted with the logos of Pennsylvania and other states, "look like drivers' licenses" but are useless as legitimate identity documents, Zachwieja said.

To the untrained eye, or a harried cashier seeking a form of picture ID to accompany a customer's bank check, however, the fake cards can look legitimate.

Relatively sophisticated bar-code technology is used to manufacture the cards, Zachwieja said. Then, if doctored with false birth dates, they can be used in nightclubs and other venues where swipe-and-go card-readers are sometimes used to scan for underage patrons, he said.

From his van across the street from where Rosa Photo was parked, competitor Joseph Doe of Wulu Photo said he knew nothing about the genesis of the police action.

(Read the full story here)

A few observations and comments:
  • How sharp do you need to be to catch these guys if it has been going on for years?
  • I'd think with at least 4 employees, 2 cars, 1000 ID cards that someone would have noticed something was going on. What do these guys say when someone asks what they do for a living?
  • I love how after calling the cards basically useless, several applications are outlined for the fake ID cards.
  • File it under unbelievable that the competitor in a van across the street comments on the bust!
  • Again and again we say, ID cards are only as secure as you want to make them. What level of security do you need?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Retransfer is the new black

Although they do exactly what they are sold to do, my personal preference for beautifully printed photo ID cards is often left wanting when I see output from most "direct to card" printers. I am talking specifically about the "value" lines of printer from the big three manufacturers (Fargo, Zebra, Datacard) that we most often see in customers' security systems. Their price and speed are both very good in terms of value, but the color output is just not up to par for some designers/prepress artists. I remember a looooong conversation with with the staff card office of the University of North Carolina regarding the color blue. The Tarheels know their blue, and it absolutely has to be their blue, or nothing. After printing sample chips of colors on maybe 25-30 cards, we finally arrived at a suitable RGB color for their design. It was exhausting and expensive.
The whole time I was going back and forth with them I was thinking how nice it would be for a desktop card printer to represent the screen images correctly in the finished card. That was 10 years ago. Now, the product I was wishing for is in wide distribution and is coming down in price to a level that almost any user can afford.

Retransfer printers are a different breed than direct-to-card units in that they print on a piece of film (in reverse) and then that film is bonded to the surface of the card. This allows for images to be printed "off the edge" in full bleed. The colors that these retransfer units can achieve is remarkable in comparison to the direct units. Another advantage of the retransfer process is the fact that the card surface (the substrate) does not have to be totally smooth to render a clean image. Bumpy cards like Prox or Mifare are a problem for direct-to-card systems, but retransfer printers have no apparent problem. In terms of image quality, retransfer printers eat the direct-to-card printers for lunch.

The two downsides of using retransfer are cost and speed of production. These units are usually higher priced to the end user, and I think this is largely because the market share is just too small to justify lower prices to drive unit sales. It's a niche inside an already niche market. Fargo (Now known as HID Identity) has taken a pretty bold step in releasing their new lower priced retransfer unit at $3,995 MSRP, where their earlier models were upwards of $6K for a comparable feature set. Fargo's competitors (EdiSecure, Datacard Hi-FX, VDS) may need to follow suit soon.
The speed issue is easily seen when any retransfer printer is run side-by-side against a direct to card unit. The speed drop is largely because of the extra pass associated with retransfer process. Let's say a standard Direct to Card (DTC) printer uses a YMCK ribbon to print a full color 1-sided card. Each time the card passes over the printhead, the ribbon panel puts down one color, or "sublimates" that particular dye panel. A retransfer printer using a YMCK ribbon in conjunction with a retransfer ribbon will have to make the same amount of passes to print the same card, but there is an additional time lag for the transfer of the image to the card. This drags the output time out, and causes the retransfer printer to run about 20% slower than the DTC printer.
This has been combatted by printing in portrait mode (longer side of the card is the leading edge) on some retransfer printers. DIS's EdiSecure printer is a prime example of this. Instead of feeding paper (or cards, in this case) into the unit with the short side leading, they feed with the longer side leading. This cuts down the linear length of the print process, which leads to faster output. Brilliant. It's a patented process that only the VDS style of printer can use, and EdiSecure is one of the VDS printer types. It is the best incarnation of the VDS printer style in my opinion.
I would like to know when the other manufacturers are going to step up and drive a true competitive change in the retransfer printer market. Fargo is currently leading the apparent charge with their HDP5000 unit, and its modular design is pretty darn nice for the price. Zebra, I'm looking in your direction... where's that retransfer printer?
Travis Brewington can be reached via email or via (800) 438-8850, Ext. 111

Card File