17th June | Sebastian Smith

The EU's New 'Digital Identity' - One Step Towards Your Social Credit Score

Predictably so, the pandemic has unleashed the new grounds for a ‘digital revolution’, anyone with a brief knowledge of history should be weary.

The EU's New Digital Identity - Your Social Credit Score? (photo by cardmapr.nl)
Photo by CardMapr.nl on Unsplash

Throughout the past year, there has been a multitude of different approaches towards the pandemic. Primarily however, despite the fact that politics is becoming increasingly divided, it is no longer a fight between the left and the right, but rather one resembling that between those employing a new age of digital surveillance under the smokescreen of the pandemic, and those warning that current events are orchestrated, and are worried for their future liberties.

As those on the latter continued to resist government pressures, major figures and organisations like the World Economic Forum pushed their ‘great reset’ agendas, politicians on both sides of the political spectrum pushed to ‘build back better’, and now, predictably so, the European Commission has played its card in the digital revolution: the ‘digital identity’, or, as the commission put it: ‘the government in your palm’. What could possibly go wrong?.

In early June, the European Commission, who work as the legislative arm of the EU, released their plans for a ‘secure digital identity’. Like Vaccine Passports, which the commission had proposed three months prior to the pandemic, the digital identity would be a digitally centralised place where users could keep all their data such as their ID’s, driving license, medical history, bank details, and presumably, as seen in the past year, covid-19 testing and vaccine certificates. 

Officially, the initiative will be a mobile software centralising all certificates of identification, and will help all European citizens gain ‘easier’ access to services such as opening a bank account, renting an apartment, as well as accessing online services like verifying identity for social media platforms. The commission wrote:

‘Citizens will be able to prove their identity and share electronic documents from their European Digital Identity wallets with the click of a button on their phone.’

‘Very large platforms will be required to accept the use of European Digital Identity wallets upon request of the user, for example, to prove their age.’

Of course, if you’re particularly naive, it can be easy to look at the scheme as a simple, time-enhancing method of certification. Despite the initiative claiming that people will have the option whether or not to use them, vaccines were also portrayed as ‘optional’, yet deciding not to take one can now restrict your access to go on a plane, public transport, or even a pub. As governments have proven to us, it may well be an option of adoption or being left behind.

If you look at the history of these governments, corporate bodies and organisations, you begin to realise a pattern that there is an authoritarian force driving behind the wheel. If you challenge the state narrative, Silicon Valley will de-platform and sensor you, media conglomerates will attack you, governments attempt to track and trace you, and if you resist a vaccine, they will restrict your movement, so it might not be such a “conspiracy theory” that when your certificates and credentials become cross-referenced, there is the opportunity for even greater restriction. 

One EU document alternatively claimed that the new digital identity would prevent ‘unnecessarily sharing personal data… with this solution, they will have full control of the data they share.’ Despite the hope this may shed, it would seem to me that when all your data is held on one identity, corporations may well start asking for more details rather than less, since digitally accessing data is a far easier alternative than asking consumers to search paper documents. With the commission claiming that 80% of EU citizens will use the solution, the opportunity for abandoning older methods of identification could quite easily be feasible.

Whether it is coming to the west or not, I can’t help think of the cross-referenced ‘digital identity’ already successfully working in Communist-controlled China, in their case, a social credit system as means of government control and surveillance. Since 2014, Chinese provinces have been rolling out their social credit system, which aims to promote ”trustworthiness” in society. The system works on an individual score given to each citizen based on their behaviours and actions, with non-state approved behaviour possibly restricting citizens from doing basic actions like buying a ticket. According to early claims by the CCP, the system would ”allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step”. 

Of course, the commission certainly isn’t claiming that the ‘digital revolution’ will result in a technological dictatorship. Neither am I, but it is worth noting that if these technologies were (or are) fallen into the wrong hands, as history has shown over and over again, a government-controlled society isn’t fiction, at least this time, like in China, and their leverage of ‘smart’ technology, a dictatorship might well be easier. 

The situation could be resembled using an axe. If used correctly, an axe can cut down a tree, but if put in the wrong hands, the wrong person could use it to kill somebody. Similarly, a centralised digital identity used to ‘prove certain personal attributes’ could be used to help the population gain easier access to services in life, but when governments and multinational conglomerates start asking for more ”credentials” for people to use their services, you can easily see how things get out of hand.

Imagine signing up for Facebook, which will be ‘required’ to adopt the technology, and now they might start asking: ‘have you got a criminal record?’, ‘have you taken your vaccine?’, ‘do you have a history of spreading ”misinformation” online?’, assuming they store certain data, they will also know if you have been banned on the platform before, therefore prohibiting those who don’t abide by their increasingly restrictive guidelines from returning to the platform.

‘The European Digital Identity wallets will be useable widely as a way either to identify users or to prove certain personal attributes, for the purpose of access to public and private digital services across the Union’. 

At the forefront of this ‘advancement’ should be the questions: in whose hands will this power be held? and, what kinds of ‘credentials’ might corporations start requesting users verify to use their services?

Ursula Von Der Layen | World Economic Forum | Flickr

Behind funding the initiative is the EU, with the top of the European Commission led by its president Ursula Von Der Layen. Layen’s portfolio is rather expansive, as a member of the board of trustees at the World Economic Forum, Layen is a prominent attendee seen pushing ‘the great reset’ agenda. A public campaign pushed by the forum seeking an economic and technological reset, where ”you will own nothing and be happy”.

Controversially, although not at all surprisingly, Leyen also lies on three of the recent Bilderberg meetings in 2016, 2018 and 2019, other members at the same secretive meetings included the CEO’s of Microsoft, Google and Shell, the governor of the bank of England, the secretary-general of NATO, numerous prime ministers, presidents, a Deutch king, as well as other high profile figures in media and big business. When international governing bodies like the EU meet en masse behind closed doors with big business, serious concerns ought to be proposed. 

Another director behind the EU strategy ‘Europe fit for the digital age’, and a representative for the digital identity is Margrethe Vestager, a former danish MP, and now European commissioner. Vestager’s interests portfolio reveals membership at the Rockefeller created Trilateral commission and that she is a current council member on the European Council on Foreign Relations, which happens to have significant funding from George Soros’s Open Society Foundation, the Gates Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund

Despite the Council on Foreign Relations clearly having a large impact on foreign policy, with housing members including international prime ministers, MP’s, foreign secretaries, NATO officials, and other high government figures, major ”philanthropic” donators also get to have their say. For example, both George Soros and his son Alexander were board members at the last meeting, as well as the CEO of the Gates Foundation, showing that private philanthropy can create major control over international policy.

DesignRecipe | Flickr

What Are The Plans?

Although the plans were released in June, earlier releases by the commission in March showed the extent to which the ‘digital revolution’ will be enrolled. One extensive document was titled: 

2030 Digital Compass: the European way for the Digital Decade

Not at all surprisingly, the commission used current pandemic measures as the excuse for a ‘digital decade’ writing: The pandemic has also exposed the vulnerabilities of our digital space, its dependencies on non-European technologies, and the impact of disinformation on our democratic societies.

… ‘In the State of the Union Address in September 2020, President von der Leyen announced that Europe should secure digital sovereignty with a common vision of the EU in 2030, based on clear goals and principles. The President put special emphasis on a European Cloud, leadership in ethical artificial intelligence, a secure digital identity for all, and vastly improved data, supercomputer and connectivity infrastructures.’

In pursuit of this AI digital transformation, the commission emphasized the current ‘digital poverty’ experienced throughout the pandemic and set a vision to have a technological revolution by 2030. If you considered escaping before then, don’t worry, ‘The European vision for 2030 is a digital society where no-one is left behind.”

The trajectory for the EU concluded to four main compass points. The first change would be a digitally skilled population, and the second: a secure and performant digital infrastructure. To make sure that the entire EU was connected to the digital grid, they emphasized that all households will be ‘covered by a Gigabit network, with all populated areas covered by 5G’. Controversially, 5G towers have been among the ‘key worker’ jobs throughout the pandemic. Of course, if you wanted  a surveillance state, where anyone and all their digital actions can be traced, it then makes sense to smother civilisation in 5G.

The commission also explained what this digital society might look like: ‘Microprocessors are at the start of most of the key, strategic value chains such as connected cars, phones, Internet of Things, high-performance computers, edge computers and Artificial Intelligence.’ Another initiative was ‘to monitor dangerous intersections for an autonomous vehicle so that it can travel safely.’ Of course, with these autonomous vehicles you have to rely on the hope that it will allow you to be driven away, and that your lack of electronic ‘credentials’ don’t prevent that.   

The third compass point emphasized the need for the digital transformation of businesses: By 2030, more than just enablers, digital technologies including 5G, the Internet of Things, edge computing, Artificial Intelligence, robotics and augmented reality will be at the core of new products, new manufacturing processes and new business models based on fair sharing of data in the data economy’. Not to make conclusions, but when everything including the car is electronic, the opportunity for tracking, tracing, and remotely controlling society becomes far easier.

Artificial Intelligence will instruct robots in real-time, making them increasingly collaborative, improving workers’ jobs, safety, productivity and wellbeing.

Perhaps artificial intelligence and robotics have great opportunity to develop industries and help workers advance in their jobs… of course, this does overlook the millions of workers who will no longer have jobs. Let’s not stress, the government will save them with basic universal income: let’s just hope they have the right ‘credentials’ for it.

The final point of the digital transformation will include the digitalisation of public services. This is where the EU’s digital identity comes into hand, the commission wrote: ‘European digital identity: the Government in the palm of your hand’ … what are they proposing?

‘Today, most of the digital services these platforms offer are limited to basic services, such as smart parking, smart lighting or public transportation telematics. Digitalisation also plays a key role in the development of “Smart villages”, i.e. communities in rural areas that use innovative solutions to improve their resilience, building on local strengths and opportunities.’

Of course, it’s worth noting that when you live in a ‘smart village’ all and everything can be remotely tracked, traced and switched off, which in a day of pandemic and climate restrictions, becomes increasingly feasible. The commission also expressed their need for greater regulation of the internet such as the ridiculously vague: tackling disinformation. 

The EU’s international digital partnerships will promote alignment or convergence with EU regulatory norms and standards on issues such as data protection, privacy and data flows, the ethical use of AI, cybersecurity and trust, tackling disinformation and illegal content online, ensuring internet governance, and supporting development of digital finance and e-government.

Imagine, it’s 2030, you live in a ‘smart’ village, all and everything you own is connected to the smart grid. You and all your belonging are track and traceable, ‘so we can tackle the new variants’, or maybe, ‘so we can check people aren’t being carbon negative’. You own nothing and are happy, you take an autonomous vehicle to work, which you rented using your digital wallet. Luckily, you’re a good citizen, you have the right digital ‘credentials’ to afford that luxury, because like all your neighbours, you have not spread misinformation online, and are updated on all your booster vaccines. You feel safe knowing that governments and multinational conglomerates can filter out all those who are harmful to society. 

On a serious note, there is no direct plan for an Orwellian, Communist state, and of course, it’s not remotely so simple. However, when the same people telling you we need more censorship online, that peoples feelings should override freedom of speech, that only one scientific narrative should be allowed, that one day we will ‘own nothing and be happy’, when those same people who attend secret Bilderberg meetings with multinational conglomerates and business leaders, en massé behind closed doors, when these people tell you that we should live in a completely digitally automated society. Only then you begin to see how certain authorities might start abusing their power.

Alone, digital identities, artificial intelligence and smart villages aren’t necessarily bad, because at face value they could all create the opportunity for good. Rather, when you connect the dots, the opportunity for evil flourishes, and a completely different image arises.

”Never let a good crisis go to waste”

– Winston Churchill

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