Several people, including Dutch MEP Rob Roos, have expressed concern that a centralized digital ID could put Europeans’ privacy and mobility rights at risk. But one of its leading architects, Single Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, claims that “the wallet has the highest level of both security and privacy”, while EU President Ursula von der Leyen insists that this is “a technology where we can control ourselves which data is used and how.” So either critics are overstating privacy concerns, or the technology’s defenders are downplaying them. They can’t both be right. In theory, a universal European digital ID could be programmed in such a way that the citizen has full control over which parts of his or her “digital wallet” he shares at any given moment, and which he or she does not share.
In theorywe would have nothing to worry about if a European digital ID was programmed by people who took privacy seriously and were not inclined to exploit the technology at hand to “nudge” – or even “nudge” – citizens to comply with their policies on disease control, non-discrimination, war propaganda or climate change.
But in practiceit would be very naïve to assume that a programmable Europe-wide digital ID controlled by a centralized bureaucracy would not, sooner or later, be exploited to “nudge” (or push) people to follow the policies that happen to be favored by “the powers that be”. And it doesn’t take a wild leap of the imagination to imagine the ways in which a European digital ID could be exploited to erode the equality and freedom of Europeans, since those same individuals are the public face of this digital ID initiative. which launched the most comprehensive system of biosurveillance in the history of Europe, namely the so-called Covid digital certificates.
The operation of the digital Covid certificates, which were approved by both the European Commission (the same one that is now pushing for a digital ID system) and the European Parliament, can give us a fairly clear idea of the uses to which European technocrats are likely to put a digital ID system, if given the chance.
The digital Covid certificate was used to force citizens who had not received a Covid vaccine within a certain period of time to have a costly and inconvenient Covid test every time they crossed a European border, and was even used to deny entry to unvaccinated citizens in cultural and recreational venues across Europe. In other words, the digital Covid certificate served as a mechanism to force citizens to inject a certain medicine into their bloodstream, creating a two-tiered society, where the unvaccinated were treated as a new social and political underclass.
Now imagine if a centrally managed European digital certificate was offered to all European citizens as a tool to access a wide range of services, from air travel and hotel stays to car rental, access to leisure facilities and access to online digital services. Initially, the certificate would probably be optional and citizens could use other methods to validate their identity. Then, under the pretext of increasing the “security” of citizens, the certificate may well become mandatory for an increasing number of transactions.
The next step would be to gradually expand the information on the certificate and use the certificate as a way to deny or approve citizens’ access to certain services based on their spending habits, their vaccination status or their “social credit”. Of course, this is not something we can be 100% sure will happen. But the recent implementation of vaccine apartheid in Europe should disabuse us of any illusions that Europe’s political leadership is committed to respecting and defending our civil liberties or our equal access to public amenities and services.
Politicians like Thierry Breton and Ursula von der Leyen, and the MPs and member state governments who cheered them on during the pandemic, were prepared to treat citizens like cattle or disease vectors to be vaccinated and tested en masse, with scant regard for their personal medical histories and risk factors . It is surely only a matter of time before people with this kind of contempt for individual freedom would be inclined to take advantage of a technology like a universal digital ID as a lever to control people’s private choices in order to advance their own careers and politics. goal.
A lot of citizens said “no” to an experimental vaccine, and a lot of citizens still question the scientific and political rationale for imposing onerous carbon taxes, forcibly expropriating farmland based on climate directives, living in “15 minute cities,” making room for transgender ideology in their hospitals and classrooms, or refrain from whatever the powers that be deem “hate speech.”
What better method to get the public to comply with unpopular or controversial public policies and laws than to reward compliance with increased mobility and increased access to social amenities and services, and punish noncompliance with reduced mobility and reduced access to services and amenities? Isn’t that exactly what the digital Covid certificate, an idea of the same commission, did?
Obviously, proponents of a European digital ID will publicly claim that they are only interested in promoting the security of our transactions and protecting our privacy. But since these are the same people who dare to claim that medical segregation and coercion via vaccine passports “assure us of (the spirit of an open Europe, a Europe without barriers”), their assurances about the integrity and freedoms of citizens have no credibility whatsoever.
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