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New look, better security coming for ID cards

May 31, 2007
By Sean O'Malley

What's in your wallet? Much like the ubiquitous credit-card company that promises security, Ohio University's Office of Information Technology wants to protect a different card in your wallet. OIT will begin issuing new identification cards to all faculty, staff and students on June 18.

While the cards will feature an updated design, one of the most important aspects of the new card is something that can't be seen - the elimination of Social Security numbers on the magnetic stripe. "Some security measures can be hard to visualize," said CIO Brice Bible. "This one, you can hold in your hand." 

Bible said security improvements for the new ID go beyond the change in the magnetic stripe. Through the card-redesign efforts, OIT has partnered with the Ping Center and Alden Library - two of the most highly trafficked destinations on the Athens Campus that rely on IDs for transactions - to eliminate the use of Social Security numbers from their systems. As of this summer, a PID number, or personal identification number, will be used to track the use of these facilities and services. 

Faculty, staff and students on all six campuses will be able to obtain new ID cards at their campus ID card offices as of June 18. Incoming students will receive the new ID cards during Precollege Orientation. Returning students and employees gone during the summer can obtain new cards when they return to campus in the fall. There is no charge for employees or students to get the updated card. 

OIT also will offer options for students and employees to discard their old IDs. 

"Because the holder's Social Security number is encoded on the existing cards, we'll be encouraging individuals to destroy their old cards," says IT Communications Manager Sean O'Malley. The IT office will shred old ID cards on request and may offer a magnetic wipe option for those who prefer to keep their cards. O'Malley said that by passing the old cards over a powerful magnet, the magnetic stripe will be rendered unreadable. "Some people are sentimental about their cards. This allows them to keep their card and eliminates their Social Security number."

Additional information about fall re-carding locations and times will be announced later this summer. More information about ID card office locations and hours is available at http://technology.ohio.edu/idcards/where.html.

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Published: Jul 20, 2006 3:50:00 PM
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