Nanny State

Now, More Than Ever, We Need Fake ID

To evade legal restrictions on our actions and government monitoring of our movements, bogus documents are an irreplaceable boon.


"Record number of fake ID seizures," New York's government boasted at the end of last year, presenting the Empire State's residents with a (not unfamiliar) holiday-season gift of arrests and petty law enforcement. "Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that underage drinking sweeps conducted by DMV investigators in 2016 resulted in the seizure of 862 fraudulent licenses and the arrest of 818 individuals for underage drinking, both single year records."

Great going, guv! Your intrepid investigators managed to slap cuffs on bunches of 19-year-olds for sneaking beer two years earlier than politicians would allow. How about some medals for your brave enforcers?

This is an old dance. Identification documents don't always present convenient information to prying officials, so there's wide demand for forged and altered documents to bypass legal restrictions and evade monitoring.

Now, with restrictions and monitoring a growing threat, more than ever we need fake ID.

This year, after years of shifting deadlines on the federal government's effort to create a backdoor national ID card, the TSA began posting signs at airports warning travelers that, as of January 22, 2018, they'll need identification documents compliant with the Real ID Act, passed in 2005, to be allowed to fly.

"The REAL ID Act sought to strengthen each step in the process by which people are identified using ID cards," notes the Cato Institute's Jim Harper, "and it would tie state IDs together as a national ID."

The scary signs are meant to apply pressure to those states balking at making their driver's licenses compliant with federal requirements—a list including eight states that have flat-out refused to comply, and others that are dragging their feet because of concerns over privacy and meddling from Washington, D.C.

"Montanans do not want or need REAL ID," that state's Governor Steve Bullock (D) announced in 2015. "REAL ID raises real concerns about the unnecessary collection of Montanans' personal and private information by the federal government."

The feds hope that travelers panicked by the prospect of being turned away at the airport will bring recalcitrant state governments to heel. The move may work—Arizona caved under pressure last year.

That's unfortunate because, as Harper points out, "If the United States is to avoid having a national ID, all states should cease implementation of REAL ID." Too few seem willing to follow that advice, so it looks like we're on our way to having that national ID.

But as the underage drinkers making Democrat Andrew Cuomo so upset could testify, identification documents are only controlling and restrictive to the extent that they're accurate. If they show birth date different than what reality might reflect, then age limits are less of a concern. If they display names different than those that holders use in their everyday lives, then travel might be undertaken with a modicum of privacy. And if they claim residency status without regard to where somebody was actually born, they expand employment prospects for people looking for opportunity.

That last point is especially important as we await the inauguration of a president who vows to build on the current administration's record deportations of illegal immigrants with threats to deport millions more. John Sandweg, the former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, calls the scheme "impossible," but any raids and arrests attempting to implement the plan could be incredibly disruptive to people's lives. They could also be brutally damaging to the economy—even as far from the Mexican border as Idaho, where 43 percent of all farm workers are in the country in defiance of the law.

Well, they could be, unless people subject to deportation have access to good-quality bogus ID saying they have legal residency in the U.S.

And where there's demand, somebody also rises up to make sure there's a supply. Fake ID vendors are often found on the internet these days, as New York's Cuomo frequently complains. Cuomo has even taken to warning that overseas firms selling forged driver's licenses might steal identities (fake identity theft?) potentially creating a world, I guess, full of miscreants named "McLovin."

Real ID is supposed to make life much harder for forgers, and it probably has, so they've upped their game too. Instead of somebody like me pocketing a few bucks to change names and dates on driver's licenses with sheets of dry-transfer numbers and letters as I did in my college days, you now have sophisticated companies in China peddling documents around the globe—with discounts for bulk purchases. "[O]ne undercover investigator told us it's the best he's ever seen," Salt Lake City's KSL reported after placing an order.

Or you have corruptible officials selling the real thing with phony information. Hey, it can be a lucrative side job—a Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles technician arrested in 2011 was charging between $1,500 and $3,000 for each license. And sure, those officials are doing it for the money, but that's a necessary service they're providing, by greasing the wheels of the modern surveillance state with their necessary scams.

Let's admit here that there's a real value, in many circumstances, to having reliable proof of identity. Anybody keeping an active eye on their credit rating and bank accounts understands that. But when identification documents are so frequently used by government to restrict us, monitor us, and herd us like cattle, it's at least as important that we have access to good-quality bogus documents.

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  1. Great going, guv! Your intrepid investigators managed to slap cuffs on bunches of 19-year-olds for sneaking beer two years earlier than politicians would allow. How about some medals for your brave enforcers?

    I truly appreciate you J.D. You have by the most “Fuck the government” feel out of all the writers here. And I value you that immensely.

    1. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link,

      go? to tech tab for work detail,,,,,,,

  2. Yeh, nothing discourages corruption more than factories churning out millions of real IDs every day. The odd fake ID slipping by — who can tell?

  3. Yeah, to commit crime, fake documents are an Irreplaceable boon.

    Reason can be so ridiculous.

    1. When almost everything you do is criminal in one way or another, you live in a police state, even if it is only a soft police state, not the Gestapo kind. There is nothing dishonorable about using fake IDs to get away with such victimless crimes.

    2. Criminal =/= immoral.

    3. A teenager drinking alcohol is a crime? I hope you bring your fainting couch if you ever visit any part of most of the rest of the world where teenagers aren’t treated like infants.

      1. Yeah, in the US of A you are only allowed to die for your country at age 18. You cannot have a Budweiser without risking arrest.

    4. The horror, I bought beer at age 16! *Dramatic fainting*

      1. I first got drunk at age 14, and look how I turned out. Why, I graduated high school and college early, have multiple postgraduate degrees, and gainful employment at an ancient and stable corporation. So much wasted potential thanks to the state not being active enough in enforcing its prohibition on teenage drinking; I should be running this place by now.

    5. You might want to start wearing Depends if you’re going to continue shitting yourself at the thought of teenagers buying beer with fake IDs and other such victimless crimes. Fuck off, slaver.

    6. The Trump voter in full plumage.

  4. We are required to show ID for way too many things. Committing fraud still isn’t cool.

    1. Citizens committing small frauds to counteract bigger State frauds is totes cool, bro.

    2. Fraud against the state isn’t fraud, because the state isn’t an individual and therefore has no rights or property as such. Not legitimately, at any rate.

    3. Fraud against the state isn’t fraud, because the state isn’t an individual and therefore has no rights or property as such. Not legitimately, at any rate.

      1. Wow, squirrels, glad you agree.

    4. I say no harm, no foul. If you use a fake ID to harm someone in some way, that’s bad. If you use it to avoid government meddling in your life or to skirt around stupid laws, that’s great.

    5. Tell you what, when the state and its representatives stop lying to my face at every opportunity, I’ll stop lying to them.

    6. Committing fraud still isn’t cool.

      What fraud? Fraud requires both a false statement, and damages resulting from reasonable reliance on that false statement. I’m not seeing any damages here.

      1. I wonder if a store could sue you for fraud if you bought booze with a fake ID and they got in trouble for selling to underage. That’s real damages.

        One of the things I hate most about liquor laws is how stores and restaurants are conscripted into enforcing the laws.

      2. damages? The children of course. You are a child until 35…er i mean 21 but soon it’ll be 35. Child age never goes down but up!

        You are also property of the state so the state is damaged when you hurt yourself and you owe the state damages for damaging yourself that further hurts yourself and further hurts the state which creates a debtors system.

        There you are forever owned by the state and the state is the one hurt because it owns you.

  5. I see Reason is embracing the anarchist wing of the libertarians. All opinions are fair game here. I’m okay with that.

  6. The best fake documentation is still a fake death certificate. Contrary to popular belief, the government does kinda stop messing with you once they’ve got it in their head that you’re dead. (Getting resurrected is not so easy if you change your mind.)

    1. that is very true. Reason had an article about that a year or so ago. Thee was this one person going through all sorts of hoops when SS fucked up and claimed he was dead.

  7. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that underage drinking sweeps conducted by DMV investigators…

    DMV, eh? Sweeps, eh? So they can be quick and efficient at their task, especially if that task doesn’t involve the department’s actual purpose in any way, shape or form.

    1. Think of the JOBS!

    2. Aww, crap, I gotta renew my registration this month.

  8. I’m glad that 2 Chili is here to balance out the cosmotarians. Seems like a lot of writers for the sight see “thick” libertarianism as beginning and ending at support for gay marriage and being nice to people. It’s important to push back against the state, and that means breaking stupid laws and generally gumming up the bureaucratic works whenever possible.

    1. Seems like a lot of writers for the sight see “thick” libertarianism as beginning and ending at support for gay marriage and being nice to people.

      I don’t know if that’s quite fair. But I also would like to see a lot more from other writers with a different POV from the young, urban hipster-tarian crew.

        1. Tell me how you feel about hipsters.

        2. I see the squirrelz hate hipster too. I guess they’re not all bad.

        3. I do! As often as possible.

    2. I fail to see what this has to do with the boogeyman cosmotarians. The only people not agreeing with the article are Trump supporters.

      1. Open your eyes, man. Goddamn cosmos are all just pretending so that when libertarians take over the world (which is going to happen any day now) they will be poised to take control and force us all to take drugs, have gay sex with Mexicans and be gender fluid while they install Hillary Clinton as Queen.

  9. Right on, Tuccille. I think he’s really got the right idea. Reforming government is a fine aspiration, but you can’t rely on that actually happening. Free people need to learn to work around all that bullshit.

  10. Just when I was complaining that Reason only hires cosmopolitan WASPs and yuppies that will never truly stand up against statism, we get a Tuccille article about the joys of fake IDs. Glad to have you back Tuccille, you provide a ‘fuck The Man’ angle that is sorely lacking here.

  11. I can’t take Reason seriously on immigration if they are going to keep “forgetting” that Obama gamed the deportation stats.

  12. And where there’s demand, somebody also rises up to make sure there’s a supply.

    I was planning on making a snarky comment about sensing a golden business opportunity, but good ol’ 2-Chili beat me too it.

  13. Jedis, not fake ID.

  14. I think it’s interesting that the only specific enumerated examples that Tuccille gave were “underage drinking” and “illegal immigrants working without authorization”.

    If you want to argue that it should be easier to commit identity theft, I think you need to do better. Because your enumerated concerns so far? Are things that can be handled without weakening IDs. But identify theft cannot be handled without strengthening them (continuously. Security for such things is always a constant battle between criminals and security experts).

    1. Evolution is an eternal arms race.

    2. Fake ID =/= identity theft. Sometimes, sure. Every time? No.

      1. Didn’t say it was.

        But the same weakness in IDs that enables fake IDs are enablers for identity theft.

    3. Name the situations where identity theft is a problem:

      1) Financial fraud, Why should government subsidize this when banks and insurance companies could do this themselves (and did for decades)?

      2) Accusation of theft, rape, murder, etc. Except that nobody gives a flying fuck about an ID card in those situations – more like fingerprints and DNA.

      3) Millions of petty things government enacts to line the pockets of cronies. Maybe ID cards aren’t the real problem here.

      1. “Why should government subsidize this […]”
        I understand the complaint, but as with many problems, that’s a cat that’s well and truly left the bag.

        Not sure why you brought up 2, as I don’t think me or anyone else claimed that IDs were a factor in those cases.

        “Millions of petty things government enacts to line the pockets of cronies. Maybe ID cards aren’t the real problem here.”
        My point exactly. If there is a problem with drinking age laws, then that problem exists with or without strong IDs. And the solution to those laws is the same, regardless of IDs.

  15. If only more people with fake IDs had voted for Hillary.

    1. I’m pretty sure that 90% of the fakes made in the last six months went to that effort.

  16. Can anyone point me to one of these Chinese companies that manufacture pretty good fakes? Asking for a friend.

    1. I would tell your friend to be careful about online traps set up by the cops/feds. Back in my day, you had college kids making them with a poster board made to look like a license, a polaroid camera, and a laminating machine. A pain in the butt, but much harder to trace.

  17. IT baffles me that progs like Cuomo are shitting their pants over fake IDs. What if a transgender teen wants to get a driver’s license saying the gender they identify with? Or an undocumented worker? You can’t have it both ways you shithead!

    1. New York is one of the states with a well-defined and un-cumbersome process for trans folk to change their IDs and paperwork.

      Similarly, New York is one of the states that will grant driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants and non-citizens.

      So in response to your concern-trolling: New York has considered those cases, and found ways to address them without weakening the system.

      1. Then why is New York complaining that the ID system is weak?

        1. Hrm… just re-checked both articles linked to Cuomo’s statements, and neither supports your interpretation.

    2. I’m not sure why a drivers’ license needs to list sex/gender at all. I’m pretty sure male and female drivers are subject to the same rules on the road.

  18. thugs gotta thug

  19. Nevaeh. I agree that Richard`s storry is shocking… last wednesday I got a great BMW M3 from earning $5318 this-past/4 weeks and just a little over 10/k lass month. without a question it is the most comfortable job Ive ever had. I began this 10-months ago and pretty much straight away got me at least $83, p/h. see here now


  20. ‘The feds hope that travelers panicked by the prospect of being turned away at the airport will bring recalcitrant state governments to heel. The move may work?Arizona caved under pressure last year.”

    I’m still back at wondering why the fuck I need any ID to fly within the US at all?

  21. Is any of this fake ID stuff going to matter when technology is so rapidly headed towards biometrics? Can’t fake your retina easily, nor conceal your facial structure.

    Today’s law enforcement is already busy scanning publicly-posted photos into a facial recognition database without needing our consent. All they have to do is attach the photos to the correct identities, and they’ve won.

  22. Ella . although Margaret `s article is super, on friday I got a new McLaren F1 after having earned $4887 this-past/four weeks and just over ten grand last-month . this is actually my favourite-work Ive had . I actually started six months/ago and right away began to earn minimum $82 p/h
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  23. I can see what your saying… Raymond `s article is surprising, last week I bought a top of the range Acura from making $4608 this-past/month and-a little over, $10,000 this past month . with-out any question its the easiest work I’ve ever had . I began this five months/ago and almost straight away startad bringin in minimum $82 per-hr
    . Read more on this site…..

  24. just before I saw the receipt that said $7527 , I accept that my mom in-law woz like actualey making money in there spare time from there pretty old laptop. . there aunt had bean doing this for less than twentey months and at present cleared the depts on there appartment and bourt a great new Citro?n 2CV . look here…….
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