Oakland officials on Friday are expected to introduce the nation's first dual purpose identification and debit card, functions intended to help the undocumented and the urban poor alike.
But the cards are raising serious questions about whether they could expose users to fraud because, unlike regular debit cards, these are inscribed with identifying personal information about the card holder: a date of birth and address.
"The city of Oakland is creating a debit card that violates the privacy of the users and that's outrageous," said Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy for the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse in San Diego.
A lost, stolen or misplaced card would give strangers or thieves the very security information they would need to drain the bank account, Stephens said.
Oakland leaders have long sought to offer residents a municipal identification card. Although they're available to anyone, they're expected to be especially helpful to immigrants who lack legal status and identification. But officials also tried to make the card versatile to help as many Oakland residents as they could.