What’s the Purpose of an ID Card?

I have always thought that the purpose of an ID card is to vouch for an individual who we have never met before and who wishes to perform a transaction for which we need to confirm the identity of that person.

In this context, the ID card issuer acts as a trusted third party who we expect would have done its due diligence on the person in question and who would have issued a picture ID to confirm the same. This then gives you the confidence to proceed with the transaction with the assurance that the person is who he says he is.

Recently, my life has been turned upside down with the incessant request for unexpired picture IDs from institutions with which I have been doing weekly business for more than 5 to 15 years.

What even fascinated me most was the fact that I have held a very senior leadership position in one of these institutions within the last 3 years and I was asked to produce a picture ID, when it was clear to all who I was.

The whole situation seems a bit farcical. Just imaging that I present myself to an institution where everyone knows me by name and features but yet I have to present a picture ID. Someone needs to tell me what is the purpose of a picture ID in this scenario?

This makes absolutely no sense to me, assuming that my initial assertion of the purpose of an ID is valid. Maybe there is a more sinister purpose.

I have now formed the habit of asking those who know me but who still insist on seeing a picture ID from me, to explain the need for the ID card.

In most cases, the response I get has to do with merely satisfying regulatory compliance. Everyone knows it is a pain but there is blind obedience to do what the regulator says regardless of how foolish the instructions and how meaningless the outcome.

Another mystery of this whole picture ID conundrum, is the refusal of institutions to accept an expired picture ID. Other than a case where the individual has aged to the point where he does not look any way like his picture on the ID, why then should an expired ID card not be acceptable? What is the significance of the expiration other than a money making exercise in most cases?

Does an expired picture ID signify that the person no longer exists or ceases to be a real person? Why on earth, can an institution not be allowed to use its discretion in accepting or not accepting an expired picture ID?

This whole “ID” conundrum seems to have taken on a whole life of its own. It matters not that you present yourself and that you are known by the parties with whom you are interested in doing business. If you do not have a picture ID you are “null and void”.

For those who support this picture ID craze, what is not no so obvious to them is the attendant risk associated with the creation of all of these silos of personal information at these various public and private institutions.

It is this practice of creating these multiple silos of personal information which has created the opportunity for the modern phenomenon of identity theft. In the past, if a hacker wanted to steal your identity, he would have to individually hack Social Security, Medical Benefits, Inland Revenue, your Bank, etc. Today, all the hacker needs to do is breach just one of those institutions. Chances are, that breached institution will have all of the other personal information needed to steal your identity.

Having so many institutions holding our personal information has now exponentially increased the probability that a your identify can be stolen. It is a matter of time before a high profile case surfaces in the press.

It is my humble opinion that this whole picture ID craze is a waste of productivity and has not demonstrated to me that it has solved any real or imagined problems.

The one thing that I can say for sure is that this whole ID craze has now created a real opportunity for my identify to be stolen.

For christian believers, the significance to this ID conundrum may be the ushering in of the fulfillment of biblical prophecy (Rev 14) where the opportunity is now being created for the “mark of the beast” where we would not be able to buy or sell without that mark (i.e. ID).

Let us all be vigilant.

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