MA: check ID badge of utility company workers

National Grid has warned Massachusetts residents about impostors and con artists in the area. Incidents of individuals acting as National Grid without proper ID badge have been reported in Foxboro, Lowell and Chelmsford. The company is working with police investingating these cases. National Grid field employees always carry company ID badge and most of the times use marked vehicles. Whenever a person stating to be National Grid employee shows up at the door customers should verify the photo ID badge before letting the person home. Customers should especially carefull about visits that don’t follow a service call. If employee identity is in question customers can call 1-800-322-3223 for greater New England area, 1-800-233-5325 for greater Boston area and 1-800-548-8000 for other areas of Massachusetts. National Grid does not practice door to door sales and will never ask for account number during a field visit. National Grid is an international power delivery company serving 3.3 milion customers in north east region.
Press release is available online at http://www.nationalgridus.com/aboutus/a3-1_news2.asp?document=6206

It’s not uncommon for scam artists to pose as utility company field staff. Incidents are being reported every few weeks; they usually target senior citizens living alone or in communities. Utility companies always stress proper identification subject during home visits

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ID badges for lobbyists?

Massachusetts house proposed rule for lobbyist to wear ID badges hits heavy resistance from John Binienda, Democratic Rep., chairman of the House Rules Committee. He said “Hitler during the concentration camps tattooed all of the Jewish people so he would know who was Jew and who wasn’t and that’s something that I just don’t go along with.” This statement has brought even more controversy resulting Binienda do apologize later saying: “No comparison can be made between the Nazi regime and a rules proposal made by members in good faith. I apologize to the sponsors as well as the people of Massachusetts for my words and look forward to working with the sponsors on these proposals.”
Nevertheless the chairman still stronly opposes the bill. Bill itself, sponsored by Republicans as a part of ethics reform is expected to bring more transparency into the legislation process by among other ideas forcing lobbyists to wear ID badges while vising the House.
ID badge for lobbyist idea is not new in legislative world. Several states already require wearing ID badge by lobbyist while many other strongy encourage it. ID badges can be obtained online with private vendor or issued by state agencies depending on the state. Discussion on the new rule for Massachusetts will resume after the holiday long weekend.

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Minnesota: ID badge required to enter the capitol in case of shutdown

Unless budget agreement is reached by Friday the state will be limiting access to the public premises. Capitol will be closed to the public except for those who have a scheduled hearing. All Capitol tunnels will be closed except for admin tunnel. All emplyoyees need to show their ID badges in order to access the Capitol buildings. Moreover ID badges have to prominently displayed at all times in order to avoid challenge by the security. Contingency plan memo is available online at https://www.bereadymn.com/ag-pub-complex

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Orange County, CA: ID bagde of sheriff’s deputy stolen

The burglary took place on Wednesday, June 8th at night, between 7PM and 9 PM on the parking lot in front of Clearman’s North Woods Inn in La Miranda. Aside from the ID badge 2 Glock handguns were stolen as well. The deputy was off duty during the incident. The parking lot does not have security cameras installed. The details of the incident were not disclosed. Orange county sheriff’s ID badge is a 6 arms golden star. If you have doubts about Orange County sheriff’s deputy call 911. If you have any information on the incident that may lead to find the suspect you can find sheriff’s contact info online at http://www.ocso.com/

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Chicago O’Hare new crew ID check process sparks controversy

Chicago O’Hare International Airport will start testing new security check lines for airlines crew members this summer. During the first phase of testing only the pilots will be allowed to use speedy security lines. New test proceudre is based on employee ID cards and airline employment database as opposed to extensive biometric tests used in the past. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) explains the new procedure as a step towards risk based screening rather than full screened passenger like approach.
This new ID check, called KnownCrew, has sparked controversy even before the tests satrted. Robert Poole, director of transportation studies at the Reason Foundation said “If somebody has forged a driver’s license and a phony airline ID card of a current employee, that is a major loophole,”. Biometric mesaures like finger print is by far more accurate way to prove identity than ID card, driver’s license or airline photo ID badge. Even if the ID card itself is strongly protected with the latest security features matching a person to the ID badge is matter of interpretaion.
It’s generally agreed that pilots and other crewmembers should have some sort of privillege while passing the airport security as it is part of their work and sometimes they need to do it number of times a day. Identity check even when includes taking a photo and scanning a fingerprint takes relatively little time when compared to taking off shoes, jacket, belt, removing laptops from the bag etc. It doesn’t sound very reasonable to search pilot belongings for nail clipper with 2″ foldable knife while there is a a 5 feet axe in every passenger plane cockpit. A properly balanced Identity check, including ID badge verification, database check and even photograph with fingerprint combined with less extensive personal belongings search might more appropriate solution than KnowCrew approach and wouldn’t raise security concerns.

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Coronado, CA: check ID badge before letting American Water worker home

California American Water warned its customers of impostors in June 21st press release. Day to day business operations of the company do not require employees or contractors to enter the residents property. Unless the visit was scheduled by the company or by the customer American Water employee showing up at the door is unusual. Customers should never allow property access to individuals acting as American Water employees or contractors unless their identity is confirmed with company issued photo ID badge.
“We are committed to the safety and well-being of our customers as well as our
employees,” said company president Rob MacLean. “Accordingly, we are reminding
residents to follow a few simple steps we’ve provided for them to ensure that only
authorized employees are granted access to their property.”
California American Water advisies the customers to take the following precautions when dealing with company field staff.
- verify employee identity by checking both company issued photo ID badge and state driver’s license. In case of any doubt call California American Water at 1-888-237-1333
- if the person acting as California American Water is unable to produce valid identification do not let the person to enter the property, call 1-888-237-1333 or 911
- if you receive a suspicious call from someone claiming to represent California American Water call 1-888-237-1333 to report an incident
- stay in control and do not hesitate to take your time checking the identity before letting enyone home

California American Water is a subsidiary of American Water, publicly traded company (NYSE: AWK), founded in 1886. Company headquarters is in Voorhes, NJ, it serves over 600,000 customers and employs over 7,000 people.

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Abu Dhabi: national ID card a must for upcoming elections

For the first time in history residents of Abu Dhabi will have to use Emirates national ID card to be able to cast a ballot. Federal National Council elections have been scheduled for September 24th. All the candidates have to regiser by August 17 and the list will be anounced on August 28th. Voting campaign starts on September 4th and has to finish 3 days before the election day. Final results will be published on October the 6th.
National ID card system allows for electronic votes first time in history. The company poviding the technology backend for the election process is Logica Business and Technology. Every voter will be fingerprinted and the data compared with EIDA database, the same agency that issued national ID cards. Although ballot would be casted electronically the polling station will also print out a vote receipt to drop into a ballot box. This way there would be no delay in vote counting process in case of technology issues.
At the present time 880,000 Emiratis have national ID cards and therefore are eligible to vote. The list of citizens allowed to vote will be anounced on July 11. The is no provision plan for absent voters. Anyone who wants to vote and has no national ID card needs to contact local EIDA office for help.

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India: national ID card program unlikely to cover half of pupulation by 2013

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee presented data that 2 million unique ID cards have been issued. This makes grim outlook for covering half of 1.2 bilion population by 2013. The program called Aadhaar (foundation) has started in 2009 and is being run by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). One of the biggest hopes of the program is to effiecntly deliver benefits to the poor. Currently the welfare system is considered ineficient as it’s prone to leaks. Goods distribution is based on ration cards and are not secured against forgery which results in duplication. Only 15-20% of welfare goods and services actually reach the population in need. This hasn’t changed since Rajiv Ghandi premiership.
There is also commercial interest in national ID card. Huge population without any form of ID cannot use many services, with banking being the most prominent one. The ambitious plan to cover 600 milion people in 4 years might choke the system. Some other critics also argue that iliterate part of population can make litle use of the ID card and will remain easy target for fraud and speculation. At the present time Aadhaar program is not mandatory which doesn’t help it to become more popular. With the ID card being mandatory for the adult population it would have a chance to become a primary form of identification.

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North Carolina voter ID card bill likely to be vetoed by the governor

North Carolina new voting bill requiring photo ID card to cast a ballot is now waiting for the governor’s Beverly Perdue consideration. Democratic governor is expected to veto the bill as his fellow Democrats in the House and Senate voted against it. The bill passed the house on Wednesday night 62:51, if the numbers don’t change potential governor’s veto will prevail. Governor’s spokeswoman said “The voter ID is clearly not in a form that the governor can support,” which further clears governor’s intentions towards the bill. Republicans argue it’s natural to ask for ID card when casting a ballot as it’s natural to show ID when buying cigarettes or alcohol. The bill allows to use 8 form of identification including a voter ID card that is issued free of charge. A person can also cast a provissional ballot without valid ID but has to produce valid ID later. Bill is expected to reduce voting fraud rate.
Democrats often point out that the bill purpose is to scare off certain groups of voters like seniors and African Americans. They also point out that it’s in the law already that voting fraud is a felony and voting fraud cases remain low for many years.
Similar bill was recently vetoed by a Democrat governor is Minnesota due to lack of bipartisan support.

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Victoria, TX: Local Police Department will soon accept Mexican ID cards

Houston based Mexican consul Luis Malpica y de la Madrid visit to Victoria, TX resulted in an announcement of Mexican ID card soon to be accepted by local police department. At the present time Mexican driver’s license is insufficient to proof a person identity for VPD. The new regulations to accept Mexican National ID card are expected to improve Mexican community cooperation with local police as well as better integration with town’s community. Solution like this almost naturally brings controversy on immigration matters. While many opponents call it support for illegal immigration, supporters argue that it is an important step in integrating an existing community that is sizable but unrecognized and not integrated with the town. There is no federal level solution for large group of undocumented immigrants in the US and any new legislation allowing for legalizing the aliens is unlikely to emerge during the difficult economy times. With this in mind states and towns are trying to find a way to integrate immigrants communities with means they have on hand. While some towns issue municipal ID cards other decide to accept foreign, non-passport ID cards. The level of ID card acceptance varies from identification only to ability to get utilities, cell phone, open a bank account or cash a check.

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