Fakes now harder to make

Nicole Robinson

Here’s a challenge for you, Mr. Fake-ID maker.

As of Sept. 20, The Wisconsin Department of Transportation started printing new Wisconsin driver’s licenses to thwart your efforts.

Now, I can relate. As a photography student, I spend many hours with Adobe Photoshop. Sometimes I can’t help but think that with those skills, I could make a sweet profit selling fakes.

Those are only fleeting thoughts, though. And I have never made a fake ID. These thoughts it seems, only come when I’m feeling especially poor.

But with new driver’s licenses in Wisconsin, making your own fake ID won’t be as easy as it once might have been, especially for people who have been known to scratch their IDs and those who’ve had endeavors in creating their ID’s with cut-and-paste methods using computers.

The DOT now is issuing two driver’s licenses, depending on age. For those older than 21, the ID remains horizontal, but those younger than 21 will have vertical IDs. Both have a pink hue, with the word Wisconsin repeated in the background.

The whole goal is to make driver’s licenses and ID cards less susceptible to identity theft, including special security overlays and digital imaging. According to the DOT, ultraviolet security features on the vertical IDs will “protect” cards from alterations.

Another feature to brag about is the new 1-D bar code on the back, which ties a specific card to a specific person. Maybe I just don’t understand the entire workings of a 1-D barcode, but I thought that was the purpose of the card to begin with.

The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, which sets the standards for identification and driver’s license card design, set three levels of security for different layers of inspection.

Level one pertains to inspection done by sight or by touch, which is assisted by the use of holograms.

Levels two and three require other methods of inspection, such as magnifying glasses and microscopes.

Granted, when you’re trying to sneak into She-Nanigans, the bouncer isn’t going to pull out a microscope to do some in-depth checking of your ID, but the visual checks on the IDs should be enough for any bouncer to see inconsistencies.

Minnesota IDs also saw a change to comply with these standards, and a re-issue of drivers license numbers, which were randomly generated.

According to the Hennepin County Web site, the biggest security feature on these new cards is a giant holographic loon, which is visible when the card is viewed at an angle.

Honestly, I’m really excited for the turnaround in driver’s licenses, because the decrease in freshmen and and sophomores with fakes trying to get into the bars will only be awesome for my drinking habits. When my friends and I want to go to The Brat to end the evening, the line of underagers won’t hinder our fun.

Call me vain, but I’m stoked for the opportunity to have a pink license, and I’m sure I’ll sit and look at the holograms for at least an hour. And seriously, who’s not going to jump at the chance to have a new, and inherently better, ID photo taken?

From the stories I’ve heard, and the fake IDs I’ve seen, Wisconsin drivers licenses are really easy to manipulate. And hopefully this change will not only provide extra security but also keep more underagers out of the bars.