“You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” Rahm Emanuel – former White House Chief of Staff 2009-2010
Anyone who thinks that the corporations aided and abetted by governments across the globe aren’t exploiting the COVID-19 crisis for their own nefarious ends needs to give their head a wobble right now. Right at the very start of this crisis, we raised concerns about the loss of freedom and the ramping up of tracking and surveillance technology that would be a consequence of the efforts to ‘contain the virus’: The COVID-19 crisis and the loss of freedom – 30 March 2020.
Well, a quick search of the Net has revealed numerous articles which all prove that we were not mistaken in the misgivings we had way back in March. Here are two articles dealing with digital identity:
ID2020: What’s Needed For Digital Identity In 2020 – 27 March 2020.
The looming disaster of immunity passports and digital identity – 21 July 2020.
Here’s one article looking at the implications of a cashless society:
‘You can’t pay cash here’: how our newly cashless society harms the most vulnerable – 24 June 2020.
Having a digital identity and proving you have it means having some kind of internet connection and pretty much having to own a smartphone. If you don’t have these then down the line, you will have serious issues accessing government services, paying for goods in shops, being barred from premises for the lack of a CovidPass. Basically, unless you’re living fully off grid, you’ll struggle to survive.
The people pushing these ‘solutions’ don’t seem to have grasped the concept of digital exclusion. A fair few people are too poor to be able to afford a reliable internet connection, let alone own a smartphone. There are quite a few elderly people who don’t have smartphones and instead, rely on more basic mobiles which just make and receive phone calls and texts and that’s it. If digital identities, CovidPasses and a cashless economy are going to get rolled out a lot quicker than many of us were expecting, a lot of people are going to be cut off from society and will struggle to survive. This is what we wrote a while back about the issues that the CovidPass will cause: The World Economic Forum widening the digital divide – 31 July 2020.
Going cashless means having to have a bank account. As we’ve written previously, we know a few people who’ve had brushes with the law and on exiting prison, have found it hard to get a bank account. A lot of people who are sleeping on the streets and have fallen through the net won’t have bank accounts. To compound matters, a growing number of establishments that have gone cashless are now encouraging payment via an app on a smartphone instead of card payments. We’re moving towards a situation where to get a cup of (overpriced) coffee in a trendy London cafe, you’ll have to have a smartphone. Proffering cash will get you shown to the door! For the record, we’re actively boycotting establishments that insist on not accepting physical cash. If enough of us do this, at some point they’ll have to back down.
Then there’s the philosophical question of what kind of society do we want to live in? Who has the right to force us to own a piece of technology, a smartphone, with our digital identity, bank account and CovidPass on it just to participate in everyday life? When the f**k were we ever asked if we wanted to live in a society where we have to plug ourselves into the matrix just so we can survive? Survive on the terms of the corporations and the governments that do their bidding that is, not surviving on our terms, let alone living a full life. If our cash and identities are out there in the ether, they could be switched off at any moment by a government that has decided we’re too much of a thorn in their sides. If these are switched off, we will not be able to survive in a society that’s digital and cashless. Once that’s widely understood among the population, imagine the chilling implications of this on any form of dissent.
We’ve been warning about the COVID-19 crisis being exploited like this for the last five months. We don’t get any pleasure from saying we told you so. We’d rather be totally wrong and sitting here wiping the egg off our faces rather than looking with an ever increasing sense of dread at the dystopian future we’re sliding into. Time is running out to resist this shite. We need to drop the crap about who is and isn’t a ‘conspiracy theorist’, cut each other a bit of slack, generate some unity and start to fight back if we want any kind of future that’s worth living in.