Abbott pushes for Voter Id bill approval

Sounds like Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is running out of patience towards the Department of Justice approval process of new Texas vote id law. The bill was passed last year by the state legislature. Republicans sponsored legislation requires to produce government issued photo identification such as driver’s license, state ID card or passport upon casting a ballot. The case as in other states is highly partisan, Republicans say it would eliminate election fraud and improve integrity while Democrats are concerned about registered voters unable to vote under new law and point that cases of vote fraud are so rare that can’t be interpreted as relevant. Still Texas among some other Southern states needs DOJ pre-clearance for amending election law due to previous history of discrimination. DOJ requested data for registered voters without IDs cutting for the new law and the state submitted it.

The problem is that data submitted by the state is not broken down by ethnic origin and therefore might be interpreted as irrelevant by the Department which it already warned about. Predicting DOJ denial to clear the bill Abbott asked federal court to rule in the case. To make things more complicated DOJ, a part of Obama administration is seen by many, including Abbott as hostile against the legislation. He said he would drop the case in the court upon getting pre-clearance from DOJ. “The dual track approach is intended to facilitate the fastest possible resolution so that Texas can implement the new law as soon as possible,” said the state Attorney General in his statement on Monday

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id card based on DNA for SAT test?

This is not a joke. It’s a real answer for a real problem that north shore Long Island (NY) high school experienced recently. Last year a few teenagers from prominent, respected families got arrested for taking up to $3600 from high school students to take SAT tests for them. Education Department and other state officials have been brainstorming on how to prevent fraud since the scandal broke out.
Applied DNA Sciences Inc. has offered SigNature DNA, their patented solution to prevent counterfeit. The company claims that their plant based DNA signatures are virtually impossible to copy or counterfeit. ID card presented by the company would contain unique plant DNA signature, photograph and scannable bar code. Moreover the data would be centrally stored in a private cloud and available in case of doubts over the card authenticity.
However I consider myself a technology enthusiast I think the solution if overkill for the purpose. The primary goal of SAT fraud prevention is matching person to a name. This can be easily achieved with biometric photo id cards and fingerprints. Fingerprint readers are inexpensive and no connectivity to any cloud would be required at the test centers. Applicant can be photographed and fingerprinted upon taking the test and then the fingerprint becomes part of the test score. At any point test taker identity can be challenged if any doubts arise.

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Another state preps for voter id bill

New Hampshire voter ID bill is similar to other states legislation which went similar path. When becoming law it would require state issued photo id card, driver’s license, US passport, college photo id card or some other government issued form of identification with name and photo to take part in election process. Differently than in other states there is no rush to implement the law which is proposed to get implemented in 2016. The bill is sponsored by a Republican Senator Russell Prescott who has a moderate view on implementing the new law. “Before we walk we should crawl, before we run we should walk,” he said on Senate Public and Municipal Affairs Committee earlier this week.
Bill number 289 is a second attempt to pass voter photo identification in New Hampshire, Last year attempt failed to attract Senate votes. The idea resurfaced this year and got additional attention after undercover video of man obtaining primary ballots for deceased residents.
Bill opposers argue that the bill may cause confusion and chaos and robust advertising and educational campaign would have to precede the legislation going into force. Another worry is that senior citizens no longer able to drive might face difficulties in obtaining photo identification required by the new rules.

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Texas: convicted ID thief strikes again

League City, Texas resident, 36 years old Sharif John Reid pleaded guilty yesterday to charges of aggravated identity theft and access device fraud. The suspect has been on supervised release since April 2010 for another identity theft conviction from 2007 for the amount of $1 million.
Reid was arrested at Apple store when trying to make a purchase using fraudulent credit card and fake Florida driver’s license. He had 38 stolen credit and gift cards on him upon arrest. Police suspects 2 sources of stolen identity: 1. card skimmer in an undisclosed business place in Austin, TX (skimmer is a small device to read magnetic strip information from credit, debit and gift cards, thieves attach it to a legitimate card swiper so that the information is read at the same swipe as the purchase), 2. identity merchants, web based stores selling credit card numbers along with credit limit and holder’s information. Then the suspect was producing gift cards at home using plastic card printer with an embossing device which gave the cards legitimate look. Reid will be sentenced on April 23, he faces up to 22 years in in prison if convicted.
Identity theft in the form of stolen credit and gift cards has been a growing problem in recent years. Similarity in schemes would suggest a system wide changes but those might be hard to implement in industry of such size. It’s always best to monitor credit card accounts and credit profile as it’s free and fairly simple. Certainly better idea that finding own name on the list of identity theft victims in the news.

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New Zealand: duplicate id badges worn by the Police

Three Police officers who made arrests in Occupy camp in Auckland are reported to wear identical id badges with duplicate identification number. The arrests that took place in Aotea Square were the result of city council decision to dismantle the Occupy protesters camp in multiple squares of the city. Over dozen of tents still remain in the square and the protesters claim there will be more soon. While the movement in New Zealand seems to be losing steam (it started with over 2000 people now it’s estimated under 50) the protesters who remained on their posts are determined. The police announced that 3 individuals wearing duplicate id badges are under investigation and emphasized the fact that their behavior was against the rules. Police was executing court order that ruled the protest is in form of banned camping in public space without required permit. Council made a clear statement that members of the movement are allowed to protest in the parks and other public areas but not in the form of camping.
The protest in Auckland is a part of international movement related to Occupy Wall Street in the US. It started in September along with the protest taking place in New York City.

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India: smart id cards program launch

Residents of 9 coastal provinces (Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and West Benga) will start receiving chip smart id card tomorrow. The ambitious government program aims at collecting data for all residents and issuing smart id cards to all residents 18 years and older. The program suffered from some delays but was strongly accelerated after 2011 Mumbai terrorist attacks. System is now in full swing, Unique Identification Authority of India’s (UIDAI) officials claim that the facilities now have capacity of producing and personalizing 1,500 cards per hour. The id card is highly secure with Guilloché patterns, hot stamped hologram and micro text; data stored in 64KB chip is encrypted. Complete population enrollment goal is set for 2017.

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Florida teen with MD ID badge not giving up

In September last year we wrote about bold teenager who was working as hospital billing clerk and managed to get himself an id badge of physician assistant. For close to a week he was examining patients, providing medical care and had access to confidential data. After he was fired from the hospital he apparently didn’t give up his desire to be someone else. Thomas Scheidt after being arrested for impersonating physician assistant got out on bail and was awaiting trial for that case in March 2012.
This time he played the role of under cover police officer and he was well prepared, he had white Crown Victoria, laptop, Osceola County Police ID badge, gun, police radio and even a taser. He got busted by accident this time, he stopped a real undercover cop and asked him to buckle up the seat belt. The real detective surprised by the officer young appearance called for support which ended in Scheidt’s arrest.
I wonder if this kid needs help or punishment. He certainly needs monitoring as his ‘Catch me if you can’ stories are getting more and more scary. Sounds like nobody got hurt but a fake police detective with real car and gun is no fun.

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photo ID card required to board a train in India

Effective February 15th 2012 all passengers of Indian Railways looking to travel in air conditioned cars will have to produce government issued photo id card upon ticket purchase as well to railway personnel when asked. The primary goal of this move is to close a loophole of passengers using tickets obtained from other passengers disembarking the train. Failure to present proper identification will be treated as travelling without a valid ticket and fined according to penalty schedule. Railway has not announced any plan on extending ID card requirement for all passengers but it should be expected and time depends on how successfully present change is implemented.

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cop impostor arrested in Connecticut

A man using police id cards and badges was arrested in Old Saybrook, CT yesterday. David Walshe, 44 years old resident of Rhode island was seen at CVS pharmacy showing fake police ID card and bagde upon making a purchase using a stolen credit card. Then he shown up at Saybrook Point Inn & Spa where he popped in for a spa treatment services using a gift card purchased with stolen credit card. One of the personnel has recognized the man as someone who had purchased items with stolen credit card before. Police was notified promptly and arrested the man after short chase on foot inside the building.
The accused criminal history shows last year conviction in Norwich, CT for stealing cash from Mohegan Sun spa customers and 2009 conviction for casino larcenies. Current charges include 6 counts of criminal impersonation, ten counts of first-degree forgery, one count of fourth-degree forgery, one count of third-degree larceny, five counts of fraudulent use of a credit card and two counts of receipt of goods or services purchased with a stolen credit card.

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Vancouver: $1750 fine for identity theft attempt

Mark Clayton Mahovlich, a disabled resident of British Columbia was sentenced to $1750 fine for an attempt to obtain the province photo id card for his brother name. Mahovlich driver’s license was cancelled on February 5th, 2009; a year later on Feb 8th 2010 he applied for BC identification card using his brother Michael Care Card and birth certificate, none of these documents contain a photograph. The brother has been living in the US for over 20 years. Photograph taken at the time of application was then compared to Michael’s photograph in the file of Insurance Corporate that uses advanced facial identity software. The result excluded a possibility that man on the photo taken for ID card is Michael Mahovlich. According to Michael’s testimony his brother has been using his identity for past 25 years, drain his bank account without authorization and likely destroyed his credit in Canada; he thinks that history of drug abuse is the root cause of his brother behavior. Mark’s criminal record contain 11 offenses which started in 1986.
According to Mark he had to get an ID card for his brother in order to hide from people who wanted to take his life. He felt he pissed of a lot of people in past 4 years and they may seek a revenge.
The accused was given until October 3rd, 2012 to pay the fine.

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