The government looks inward at times. The Office of the Inspector General recently posted a solicitation for credit card sized audio recorders to be disguised as Department of Defense (DoD) ID cards.

The Common Access Card (CAC) is the DoD's "smart" ID card issued to all active-duty military personnel, Selected Reserve, civilian employees, and eligible contractor personnel, as well. According to the posted notice, the CAC-mimicking recorders must hold up to 4 gigabytes of data, which could be up to 120 hours of audio. The fake ID cards must look genuine enough to fool the "casual observer":

A covert audio recording card that exactly or as close to exactly matches the form factor of a United States DoD Common Access Card (CAC) and be able to accept a printed overlay that is detailed enough to be able to pass visual inspection by a casual observer... Be disguised by printing of specific art-work directly on to the card, or by means of removable peel-off labels that can be prepared in a normal laser printer and changed as required.

The cards and their label disguises must be "water resistant and can be used in all weather conditions, tear resistant and can be used in extreme internal or external conditions," as well.

The DoD did not respond to two inquires about the notice, including why a notice for surveillance devices for use presumably in undercover investigations by the IG would be posted on a publicly accessible website.

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