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Newer Estonian ID cards have been setting off in-store security sensors

Chip on an Estonian ID card. Photo is illustrative.
Chip on an Estonian ID card. Photo is illustrative. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

We've all had it – that moment when leaving a big store is accompanied by the high-pitched alarm as something triggers off security sensors, causing us to have to do the long walk of shame back inside, under the accusatory glare of our fellow shoppers, as we prove our innocence to a security guard or staff member.

However, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Wednesday, newer variants of the Estonian ID card have, according to anecdotal reports – which AK proved had substance to them – a particular susceptibility to setting off security gate sensors.

Martin Lambing, head of the Information System Authority's (RIA) e-ID department, said the agency was aware of the issue.

Lambing told AK that: "There have really been cases where people have multiple cards in their wallets — an ID card, a public transport card, a bank card — that have the kind of technology that can happen when a security gate with multiple cards together responds to a signal."

Following many social media reports of the phenomenon being experienced firsthand, ERR's Anne Raiste conducted her own experiment for AK, walking through the security sensors of several large stores in Tallinn with a purse containing the new-style ID card.

This triggered off the alarm in about 50 percent of cases.

Martin Lambing said that in theory, this should not be happening at all – tech in place in the card should work in harmony with that contained in security gates, he said.

In some cases, an ID card can be affected by other chipped cards (or vice versa) contained in close proximity to each other in a wallet or purse, and all these, in concert with security sensors, set off the alarm.

In this case, users should take a look at this and perhaps "shuffle" the cards or keep some more separate from others.

In any case, RIA has no plans to make changes to the national ID card.

Another pro tip mentioned by the social media hive mind, AK reported, is holding your wallet or purse high up above your head, and thus above the sensors, while exiting a store.

The AK segment is below.

The Estonian ID card, issued by the Police and Border Guard Board, serves not only for providing identification face-to-face, but also is widely used in e-authentication via its chip and pin system. As such it is utilized in a wide range of activities, including digitally signing documents; for citizens, it can be used as a travel document also. the national ID card is issued to Estonian citizens and residents alike.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: 'Aktuaane kaamera'

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