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These include Australia, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, India (see below), Japan, New Zealand, Norway and the United States.
A number of countries have voluntary identity card schemes.
These cards are issued by the same organization responsible for driver's licenses, usually called the Department of Motor Vehicles.
For the Sahrawi people of Western Sahara, pre-1975 Spanish identity cards are the main proof that they were Saharaui citizens as opposed to recent Moroccan colonists.
Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! If issued in the form of a small, mostly standard-sized card, it is usually called an identity card (IC).
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 personal identity.
Any person above 14 being checked by the police without carrying at least some form of identification is liable to a fine of about 150 Euros.
In the United States, states issue optional identity cards for people who do not hold a driver's license as an alternate means of identification.
The universal adoption of identity cards is supported by law enforcement officials who claim that it will make surveillance and identification of criminals easier.
However, concern is also expressed about the extensive cost and potential abuse of hi-tech smartcards.
A 2006 survey of UK Open University students concluded that the planned compulsory identity card coupled with a central government database generated the most negative attitudinal response among several alternative configurations.
According to Privacy International, as of 1996, possession of identity cards was compulsory in about 100 countries, though what constitutes "compulsory" varies.