Law Enforcement and Identification Codes
An indication of how bar codes and identification systems can be used in healthcare can be extracted from law enforcement’s current methods of identification. In checking the authenticity of car use, for instance, all types of marking systems are used. Below are examples of identification methods.
- Brand image/pictorial aspects, such as initial vehicle identification, car type, make, and color, are the most quickly identified aspects when a police officer is looking for a vehicle of interest. Sex, age, height, and weight are used for identifying a person.
- Alphanumeric copy is used to visually delineate an individual car because license plates have unique numbers for each individual. Likewise, the alphanumeric codes that make up driver’s license numbers are used to identify an individual from a group of people with potentially common names.
- Bar codes are used on every car to indicate the vehicle identification number (VIN#). This allows for rapid scanning at auto auctions and car-part recycling centers (junkyards) to ensure that stolen cars are not being transferred. Data Matix codes marked on parts are just now being used for tracking new and used parts. And some even call the long-used human fingerprints nature’s bar codes.
- Radio-frequency identification (RFID), or electronic identification, at this point in time, is being used for open-road toll payments across the United States, Canada, and Europe. Backup systems pick up license plate numbers to bill missed reads. This robust backup system is critical, as problems with the RFID system in Illinois cost the state more than $11 million from uncollected tolls in 2002 alone.
- Use data tied to where ID numbers have physically been and handled provide the basis for criminal prosecution of property crimes. Increasingly, law enforcement is tying data systems together with commonality of reporting numbers. To facilitate this even further, the U.S. Congress passed the Real ID Act in 2005, which will standardize state driver’s licenses and help preclude counterfeits. Similar auto-ID and authenticity measures are already in place for U.S. passports. It is yet to be seen what technologies this Real ID system will incorporate. Currently, all states now only use pictures and alphanumerics on their driver’s licenses.