VIDEO: Watch exclusive footage from the place where your ID-card is printed!


Forte went to become acquainted with the printing house where our ID-cards get our faces attached to them.

 On an early Tuesday afternoon in the muddy industrial area of Tallinn, this reporter and a photographer found, under the diplomatic auspices of a foreign country, a printing house built in a typical warehouse with the machines necessary for the finishing touches of all our ID-cards, driver's licenses, student cards and bank cards. Normal people do not go there, nor should they go there, as the citizens still have to run things through the Citizenship and Migration Board, or any other office that issues the respective documents. How the documents are technically made is a matter only known between the authorities.

The security check at the door exceeds the most stringent embassies, even a camcorder can be taken in only through a separate security check. Also, any kind of disturbing electronics, or in other words, mobile phones, are commanded to be left at the door. Security doors and walls are twenty centimeters thick, even to open the door of the repository there must be present two people, one of them with a key, the second with security codes. Secrets that need to be hidden like that are not so much the unusual laser printing machine in the building, but of course all of the personal information that is kept there.

An independent state must ensure that its citizens' identity cards and residence permits issued cannot be falsified by anyone. All the data at the ID-card printing center in Tallinn must be checked many times over before the image and the data going onto the document of the citizen are entered onto the ID card and are given to the issuing office ready for use.

Thousands of ID-cards and a hundred residence permits are printed on an average day. The printing of each card takes an average of five minutes. And the machine could certainly cope with even more, with the current capacity being only 60 percent of the maximum.

 The blanks of the ID-cards are pressed behind the borders, with laser engraving added to the layers of the card including the card applicant's facial image, the information printed on the ID-card and a number of safety features, the development of which is dealt with on a continuous basis even though the current ID-cards have been virtually tamper-proof.  The printed works of a variety of plastic cards have also been ordered from Tallinn by Latvians, Lithuanians and Finns.

In the Tallinn printing house, the blank of the plastic card is placed in the printing machine and electronically received and checked with the identity information as it is deep printed onto the card. Machines do all the work and should a failure emerge, the technical error is corrected within no more than two days.

The building also has a backup generator, thus power outages do not interfere with operations. For security, in the case of any suspicious signal, three security patrols would immediately rush to the place; a thief has no way of getting into the building. Everything that takes place in the building is under the control of dozens of security cameras and in case of fire risk; the building has also a separate closing system. And unfortunately, if someone wants to break into the cars parked in the neighborhood of the building, he or she will still be in the field of view of the cameras of the printing house.

Link to the news

Selline näeb välja ID-kaart enne trükki




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