Identity document  

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An identity document (also called a piece of identification or ID) is any document which may be used to verify aspects of a person's identity. If issued in the form of a small, mostly standard-sized card, it is usually called an identity card (IC). In some countries the possession of a government-produced identity card is compulsory while in others it may be voluntary. In countries which do not have formal identity documents, informal ones may in some circumstances be required.

In the absence of a formal identity document, some countries accept driving licences as the most effective method of proof of identity. Most countries accept passports as a form of identification.

History

A version of the passport considered to be the earliest identity document inscribed into law was introduced by King Henry V of England with the Safe Conducts Act 1414.

For the next 500 years up to the onset of the First World War, most people did not have or need an identity document.

Photographic identification appeared in 1876 but it did not become widely used until the early 20th century when photographs became part of passports and other ID documents such as driver's licenses, all of which came to be referred to as "photo IDs". Both Australia and Great Britain, for example, introduced the requirement for a photographic passport in 1915 after the so-called Lody spy scandal.

The shape and size of identity cards were standardized in 1985 by ISO/IEC 7810. Some modern identity documents are smart cards that include a difficult-to-forge embedded integrated circuit standardized in 1988 by ISO/IEC 7816. New technologies allow identity cards to contain biometric information, such as a photograph, face; hand, or iris measurements; or fingerprints. Many countries issue electronic identity cards.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Identity document" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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