Fake ID cards are often used by those under the age of 21 to buy alcohol in the U.S. These cards have become both very popular and highly sophisticated.
Persons under the age of 21 are buying and creating millions of fake driver’s licenses. This is despite holograms and other security features designed to reduce forgery. Highly-accurate replicas amaze authorities. Some police officials estimate that half of underage high school and college students have fake IDs.
Using the Internet, young people can obtain replica driver’s licenses for all 50 U.S. states, DC, and U.S. territories. There are thousands of sites offering them.
An official of Florida’s Division of Alcohol Beverage reports that fake IDs are getting very good. In fact, so good that the agency actually has to use lab equipment to detect them. The official teaches police how to spot fake IDs. He revises his training manual monthly to keep up with improvements in fake ID’s.
In response, federal law makes it a felony for web sites in the U.S. to offer them for sale. Or for offering templates for making false driver’s licenses. Consequently, some such sites now operate from other countries. However, thousands of such sites currently operate in the U.S. Some skirt the law by advertising their products as “novelty” or “souvenir” IDs not intended to be used illegally. And, of course, templates can easily be passed freely from user to user.
States are spending millions of dollars attempting to deter the production of millions of fake IDs. Yet officials admit that as soon as they improve security features, bright young people devise ways of duplicating them.
Prohibition Leads to Problems
During National Prohibition in the U.S. (1920-1933), people were similarly inventive and persistent. Tens of millions violated a law they considered unreasonable. Speakeasies and blind pigs sprang up like dandelions in springtime. Bootleg alcohol flooded the entire nation.
Illegal alcohol was produced at all levels of society, from ordinary citizens to the highest levels of government. It included a member of the President’s cabinet. And it was consumed by all levels of society. Even Congress even had its own bootleggers. And there were also high society bootleggers. In short, Prohibition was a disaster.
There was widespread production, distribution, sale and consumption of illegal alcohol. Yet the combined efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement couldn’t stop it. Nor could the might of the U.S. military.
Drives Drinking Underground
Unfortunately, prohibition drives consumption underground. There people drank large quantities within short periods of time. Prohibition always has this negative affect on drinking patterns. It discourages moderation and leads to abuse.
Just like National Prohibition, our current age-specific prohibition also discourages moderation. It promotes abuse and is counter-productive.
The only question is how long it will take us to realize and accept this clear fact. And then to act on it.
Resources: Fake ID Cards
Ortiz, F. Driver’s License Security and the Real ID Act. Hauppauge: Nova, 2013.