What comes to mind if said i wanted to talk about fake ids? Of course: The dark net, underage drinking, forgery, identity theft.What if i told you, that obtaining a fake passport can be a matter of life or death? Syrian Refugees desperately need access to safe countries. Still, it can be difficult to obtain fake papers to enter safe havens. Many Germans want to help – but how?
Let me ask you this:
What do the EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Federica Mogherini and the activist Billie Hoffmann of the Peng! collective have in common? At first glance, this seems to be little, but the Peng collective has created a passport that both could theoretically use. In addition, the group of artists, known for their spectacular political actions, merged photos of the two. On the Mask.id website, Peng offers interested parties the opportunity to upload one photo themselves and merge it with another.
The collective also uses the technology to help refugees enter Europe.
What did Peng! Do?
The Peng activist had applied for a passport with the picture taken from the photos of Hoffmann and Mogherini in a Berlin citizens’ office – and she was successful: Bundesdruckerei produced the document, and only a few days later Hoffmann was able to identify himself internationally with it. Mogherini could certainly travel with the same passport, as the picture looks just as much like her. Mogherini is responsible for the foreign and security policy of the European Union.
“We hacked Bundesdruckerei (German Passport Printing Office) in the first part of our play Mask.ID”
With this action, the collective protests against the spreading surveillance: with every passport applied for, fingerprints and facial recognition data end up in state databases. More and more authorities, even secret services, have access to the data. The activists explain that it is important to counter this development. The merged images should not be able to be assigned by facial recognition programs. For example, people could no longer be identified by comparing photos based on biometric features with passport photos in the databases of state authorities.
What we do at #Mask.ID? We are creating a biometric interpolation between two identities that uses a neural network to create a photorealistic identity that is simultaneously both and neither person. Its based on AI (1/3)
— Peng. (@PengBerlin) 22. September 2018
Should you Help?
For the time being, Peng does not advise users of the website to apply for passports themselves with the merged photos. They should wait for a final ruling on the Mogherini passport. However, Peng himself did not wait for a judgement and thus created European passports for refugees from Libya to enter the European Union.
The artists’ collective has made a name for itself with various actions, including a program for secret service employees to drop out, mass telephone protests by rented persons against real estate companies, a call for active escape aid and a hack into the Astro-TV programme.
All Art Aside…
Of course, there are cheaper and easier ways to obtain a quality Fakeid. You can travel to Thailand and buy one on Khaosan Road. I myself was offered a German „Personalausweis“ (ID Card) which makes it possible to travel around the European Union.
Or you can simply resort to a quality Vendor of false identification, who is willing to help you out for a fee that makes forgery worth his while.
These Vendors can be found on the Darkweb but also on the Clearnet. Payment is often made
by Bitcoin. But that does not help Refugees, who can only hope that Artists like the Peng! Collective will help pave a way to a better Future…