We Portuguese people are always (just a little) behind the modern Europe.
If you are from a country like the US or the UK, you’re probably used to identify yourself just with your driving license or so, but in Portugal we like PAPER and BUREAUCRACY, so, we have/had a card for pretty much every record the government has of you. For example, I always used to carry with me in my wallet my:
1) ID Card (proofs I am a Portuguese citizen);
2) Driving license;
3) National health card (proofs I am registered in the national health system);
4) Elector card (proofs I can vote and tells people in which town I can do that);
5) “Contributor’s” card (proofs I am registered in the financial system or something like that)
…apart from these I carry also cards for bank account, University and others…! And I never got my social security one (although I am registered in it, of course) or else it would be #6! If I sit with my wallet in my back pocket I get 1 feet taller!
Plus, the old ID card was not the card you might be thinking of (if you’re not Portuguese)… it was a paper card with a plastic cover, see the image bellow:
It had two squares: one for your fingerprint and another for your photo and it was huge!
It had one advantage that is now lost though: if you happen to be falling off a cliff, you could quickly take out your Portuguese ID card, fold it in a hang-glider and escape form death to live a happy life!
But now (well, not so long ago) we got what we call the “Cartão de Cidadão” — Citizen’s Card. It replaces a bunch of them (1, 3, 5 and the missing 6 and eventually will replace the #4)! Yes, what a relief! Today I went to pick mine and I am happy about it! I am no longer ashamed when I show my ID to, for example a Spanish person.
Here’s the card’s design (no, that’s obviously not me in the picture) :
So, to pick my card a lady at the what we call “Civil Register” had me identified using a fingerprint scanner connected to her Windows powered computer. She told me:
“If you like this computer business and stuff, you can buy a card reader and go to this website… then click here… and you can edit your data in your card like your mailing address, etc.”
and I thought: “hmm, will it work in my Linux box?”
Another step towards modern Europe!