Following a public consultation, the UK Government has confirmed plans to draw up new legislation making virtual forms of ID accessible via a phone app or website for instance, as trusted and secure as physical documents.At the moment there is a huge push by those seeking to make money by offering Digital ID services, and the Government to justify why Digital ID checks are a fantastic idea. All of the mainstream news on the subject only lists the alleged positives.
‘The government is encouraging all sectors to adopt digital identity verification although there has been some reluctance, thought to stem from concerns about sharing personal data online.
In fact, experts believe verifying identities virtually rather than physically is actually safer and may help reduce fraud. Key benefits include:
Digital identity checks can be completed in a matter of minutes, while the manual processing of documents can take days or even weeks. They can also be carried out from anywhere, which is particularly useful for clients who may, for example, be ill or live far away so struggle to attend in person.
- Value for money
Saving time means saving money as it enables the legal work to start sooner. Once processes are set up, they can also be used with all clients.
The digital identity standard combines a number of technologies including biometric verification, such as facial recognition or fingerprint scanning, ‘liveness’ tests where technology is used to detect a genuine presence on the other end of the device, and cryptographic checks, where only the sender and recipient can view the message.
These reduce the risk of human error and also mean information can be encrypted and stored digitally which, in turn, reduces the risks associated with physical storage and management of documents.
Previously, conveyancers may have been reticent to roll out digital checks if they were not confident that the technology they were using was secure enough.‘
But there are also a number of potential drawbacks to the widespread use of Digital ID. Your Government just doesn’t want you to know about them.
Firstly, there is little information about who and what is collecting information, from scanning behaviour in a retail store to potentially checking the use of government services.
The last few years have made it very clear that the security of databases, either private or government, is not assured. Moreover, citizens’ access to the data collected on them, its uses, and their own rights to it are unclear.
Secondly, the capability to track people via digital ID by geolocation means that there is at least the capacity to monitor people all the time, with or without their consent. It isn’t clear what rights people will have to this tracking, what ability they will have to control it, or how it might be used.
Thirdly, the rise of artificial intelligence means that, as data from Digital ID systems is gathered, algorithms are being built that may have a major impact on people. These systems, though, like the data itself, are neither transparent in operation nor clear even as to who or what is building them, and for what purposes.
It may be, in the future, that people will find they no longer have consumer options such as low-cost bank loans due to the decisions of algorithms whose workings are not transparent to the public.
Fourth, all the systems of Digital ID and data-gathering are vulnerable to security breaches. The Equifax breach, for example, compromised an astonishing 145.5 million Social Security numbers. Because of the potential for cyber breaches, hacks in the future could even larger and put entire systems at risk.
With authorities starting the journey to normalise the use of Digital ID, breaches have the potential of becoming even more disruptive than they are now.
Lastly, but not least by any means, the introduction of Digital ID’s poses one of the gravest risks to human rights of any technology that we have encountered.
Ultimately, social credit systems, such as those that are currently being developed in China, will be based on digital ID, thereby enabling or disabling our full and free participation in society.
By developing facial recognition and AI & machine learning technologies in parallel with systems for a Digital ID, we are not simply establishing an identity to access basic social services. Digital IDs will become necessary to function in a connected digital world.
This has not escaped the attention of authoritarian regimes. Already, they are working to splinter the internet, collect and localize data, and impose regimes of surveillance and control. Digital ID systems, as they are being developed today, are ripe for exploitation and abuse, to the detriment of our freedoms and democracies.
You may be thinking that this would never happen in the West and it is only unique to China. But they already enforced it here without you realising it, through Covid-19/Vaccine Passports.
Mandatory COVID passports have almost nothing to do with public health and everything to do with social control. Why? Because the Covid-19 injections do not prevent infection or transmission. In fact, real-world data shows the vaccines make someone more likely to be infected and transmit the virus.
So Vaccine Passports make absolutely zero sense from a Public Health perspective. But they make perfect sense for enforcing a Digital ID and Social Credit system.
The Vaccine Passport is a Digital ID that must be downloaded onto your mobile phone. It must be presented to grant you access to certain places. But here’s the snag, you are only allowed access if you have done what the Government wants you to do by getting vaccinated. If you haven’t done that then you’re not coming in.
How is that any different from a Digital ID and Social Credit system?
You’ll have to use your Digital ID to buy certain things, be granted access to places, and most probably to even access the mainstream internet. But, if you haven’t done what the Government has decided makes you a “good citizen”, and kept up a good social credit score, you won’t be able to do any of those things.
Once Digital IDs have been normalised, they will be one of the greatest tools that Governments have ever had in their arsenal to both control and manipulate the public and remain in power, thanks to the huge amount of personal data they will generate.