If you thought ID cards were just for flashing at the security guard at work, or for near strangling you when reaching over to the car park sensor, think again.
We’ve collected together some of the lesser-known ones, some of which are a great idea, others are just bizarre.
1. ID Cards for young carers in Cornwall
Action for Children has just launched ID cards and crisis booklets for young carers, which will shortly be handed out in Cornwall.
Young people who care for a parent or family member often have a list of responsibilities that don’t fit into the ‘norm’, such as the need to leave school early to pick up siblings, collect prescriptions or keep a mobile to hand all the time.
Their ID cards will act as proof of their individual situation and outline their specific needs, and hopefully make their lives a little less stressful and challenging.
2. Chinese Street Lamps
Yes, you read that correctly.
The Shushan District of Anhui in China has recently made ID cards for over 4000 street lamps in the district, complete with a serial number and barcode.
Their purpose is to ensure that each number of street lamp is ‘the only one in the world’, thus making routine checks and maintenance quicker and easier.
We haven’t made this up, honest. It’s part of an information management system that will soon contain ‘all the data in the life-span of the public facilities’. Watch out random piece of broken fencing near the car park, you’re next.
3. Child safety ID cards
These are proving to be increasingly popular in the US, with many towns and districts running community family safety events that include the option to get free child ID cards.
The ID cards are created on the day, and contain name details, biographical information, a digital photo and fingerprint images of both index fingers.
The ID cards are kept by the parents – not the children – as a means of quickly providing up-to-date information to official bodies if a child goes missing, to give them a ‘head start’ in searching for them.
It sounds good in principle, but what if the parent’s purse or wallet is stolen? They’ve just handed over their child’s private information on a plate.
Also, and just as importantly, what about the privacy issue? If the information is stored on a database somewhere – which it inevitably will be – then surely the children’s data is subject to misappropriation, in some cases before they’ve even learned to count to 10.
4. Shiver me timbers: Somali fishermen
Bona-fide Somali fishermen are being issued with ID cards by the Somali Government so they can prove they aren’t pirates.
Apparently a good number are being mistakenly arrested or shot at by EU naval patrols that mistake them for profiteers or hijackers. Hardly ideal for them.
5. Radiation ID cards
An entirely sensible idea for children who are subject to a lot of radiation in hospital through scans or x-rays.
The radiation ID cards, which are currently in use in Joe DiMaggio hospital in South Florida, record each time a young patient is exposed to radiation, and for how long. This way they can monitor their total exposure, and lower doses accordingly.
6. ID cards for stray cats and dogs
Ok, so really these ID cards are for those animal lovers who feed stray cats and dogs on the streets of Mumbai. They often get a bit of stick from neighbours who don’t appreciate their efforts, so the Animal Welfare Board of India are providing them with ID cards in order to protect them: women and senior citizens primarily.
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