Australia’s Trusted Digital Identity legislation is not an original idea; it is a foreign import.
Although it has been printed in Australia by hundreds of faceless civil servants and promoted via clueless ministers who think ‘the cloud’ is a side effect of Climate Change – the current concept of a ‘digital identity’ was conceived at a World Economic Forum conference in 2015 during a collaboration with Accenture.
It represents a global citizen-data initiative promoted to political leaders as ‘essential’ for economic success.
Accenture enjoys close ties with the Australian government. It won a $341 million, four and a half year government contract in August 2021 to security vet IT systems along with three contracts for the Australian Tax Office involving myGovID and Single Touch Payroll. The company was appointed by Health Minister Greg Hunt (who previously worked as Director of Strategy at the World Economic Forum between 1999-2001) to monitor the Covid vaccine roll-out where Accenture pocketed $8 million for providing very little in the way of useful data. They are also responsible for the analysis which lead the Business Council of Australia, Australian Council of Trade Unions, Australian Conservation Foundation, and WWF Australia to push clean energy through a report that backed batteries, hydrogen, and other minerals used in the creation of renewables. Internationally, they manage projects like the maligned ‘Obamacare’.
The global Digital Transformation Initiative (DTI) was designed to forge a new (and extremely unwise) collaboration between public data and private industry to ‘unlock new levels of prosperity’. This translates as collecting private data from citizens, centralising it, and then on-selling the records to the commercial market while the government simultaneously mandates the use of digitised personal records within the economy. It admits to being part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution project, especially where it talks about shifting the world away from ‘ownership’ and into an ‘access’ model which amounts to digital socialism.
In a 2017 World Economic Forum video, it was claimed that a global digital identity could be worth 100 trillion US dollars to businesses and government.
This is not about security, it is about money.
Human beings have become resources which BigTech mines for valuable information while our consumer choices are increasingly manipulated by algorithms. Corporations want to sell to us, the government wants to control us, and if we don’t do what we’re told – our digital identity will exclude us from society as easily as vaccine passports lock us out of the economy.
Australia is one of many countries that has been convinced to join the initiative. With so many incestuous business connections between the World Economic Forum, interested corporate partners, lobbyists and ministers – it was inevitable.
Australia’s Trusted Digital Identity (yes, they included the word ‘trusted’ just in case people were worried something sinister was going on) is not a stand-alone policy, but rather sits inside the extensive Digital Economy Strategy 2030 worth $1.2 billion in the 2021-2022 Budget.
A digital identity is a centralised, government-managed identity verification system. Think of it as a brand new identity record that validates itself by talking to other government systems. You might ask yourself why we’d need a digital identity system when we already have myGovID… This legislation is a band-aid to cover up the shoddy condition of legacy government systems awash with errors and outdated technology. Instead of fixing its serious problems, the government is hoping we’ll all be distracted by the shiny new app and forget that the core data is still housed on antique equipment.
However shonky, up until this point personal data collected by the government had to remain within government systems under the protection of privacy laws.
There are two serious problems with this new Digital Identity Bill.
The first is that this legislation links a person’s primary identification, medical records, tax history, and economic behaviour through one location. It presents a Crown Jewels scenario to hackers – which might explain why malicious cyber attacks have shifted from contact information in 2020 to health records in 2021. The government’s health database was breached twice in June 2021 while the ‘trusted’ third party digital giants keen to host citizen data are hacked all the time, often with threats of blackmail attached. Collating this information presents an extreme security risk that the Bill brushes off.
The second problem is that the Digital Identity Bill allows accredited third party companies to store and share your data on their servers – including foreign servers if they receive an exemption from the Minister – which is then shared again with commercial enterprises. The Bill even allows these companies to sell access rights to your data. This represents a significant philosophical change to the way government handles the private data of its citizens. Information that once belonged to you is now a chargeable service.
As many ‘conspiracy theorists’ have warned for years, this is the point at which you are officially turned into a digital product.
How do you convince people to give up their humanity and surrender to a dystopian digital vista run by Silicon Valley, corporate billionaires, and a pack of global socialists?
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Even though the Digital Identity future has been in the works for a long time, the government has decided to sell this Bill under the cover of Covid. Our digital identities will – somehow – save us from the economic apocalypse (created through government health policy) by suffocating the free market and stalking citizens.
‘The digital economy is key to securing our economic future and recovery from COVID-19. The Digital Economy Strategy targets investments that will underpin improvements in jobs, productivity and make Australia’s economy more resilient.’ – Digital Economy Strategy 2030
To understand the legislation it has to be read in context with the Digital Economy Strategy. Here, we find the government’s end goals which include forcing every Australian business to adopt electronic transactions for all transactions where customers are verified via digital identity software – effectively erasing cash and anonymity from the economy. This terrifying vision intersects with the Payment System Review (where ‘System’ is used interchangeably with the Digital Identity System) which allows the government to place itself in the middle of transactions between customers and businesses.
From the Australian government’s Digital Economy roadmap:
‘We’ll be succeeding when:
• The significant majority of Australians over 19 are registered for myGovID or other trusted digital identity.
• By 2030 all businesses will be digital businesses. To be a leading digital economy and society in 2030, every business needs to become a digital business.
• Businesses can verify the digital identity of customers and suppliers with absolute confidence.
• All transactions are electronic, integrated and secure – from registration through to employment, reporting, marketing, banking, accounting and security.’
We have been sold the falsity that politicians wish to protect Australians as they emerge from Covid. Australia’s population is vulnerable to bad ideas. After being held prisoner, subjected to years of propaganda, denied basic liberties, and economically ruined – there is a national hesitancy to freedom.
The extraordinary claim that we ‘need’ a digital identity to survive does not come from Australian market research, nor is it an organic demand created by the economy. Here, the Australian government specifically references the following World Economic Forum policies which it used to draft the legislation.
‘Further, research conducted by the WEF suggests that digital identity is essential for the growth of the digital economy more broadly encouraging digital, as well as physical engagement with public and private sector services, it has a pivotal role to play in rebooting the global economy in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Digital Identity uniquely positions businesses, the research concluded, to gain and maintain user trust and remain competitive, ‘…guarantee[ing] the realisation of greater economic potential…and advancing an economy that is more inclusive, equitable and stable for all’.’ – Digital Identity Consultation regulation Impact Statement quoting Shaping the Future of Digital Economy and New Value Creation.
The article it links to expands on this idea.
‘The Platform on Digital Economy and New Value Creation helps companies leverage technology to be agile in the face of disruption and to create the new digitally enabled business models for a new normal – post-COVID, purpose driven, sustainable and inclusive. […] An estimated 70% of new value created in the economy over the next decade will be based on digitally enabled platform business models. However, 47% of the world’s population remain unconnected to the internet.’ – Shaping the Future of Digital Economy and New Value Creation and the Davos Agenda Digital Identity Frameworks.
In How Digital Identity Can Improve Lives in a Post-COVID-19 World the WEF states that:
To re-boot the global economy and re-connect society physically and virtually in a new reality, people will need to engage physically and digitally with public authorities and businesses.’
If you still think this is about saving five minutes accessing government services (as described by the government’s promotional material) you are kidding yourself.
The World Economic Forum urges governments to ‘move quickly’ and build ‘trust’ with citizens around the secure usage of personal data which allows extensive third parties to create digital frameworks previously forbidden by privacy laws. No doubt all this haste is to prevent citizens from having time to understand the gravity of the situation. Once the Trusted Digital Identity Framework is in place, it will be nearly impossible to tear down without a French-style revolution staged simultaneously around the globe.
‘But the potential is bigger: the possibility to safely claim who we are will impact how we live and how fast the world economy can recover – alleviating key risks highlighted in World Economic Forum’s COVID-19 Risk Outlooks Report.’
The truth is that the fastest way for Australia’s economy to recover is to set it free. Remove all QR-check-in systems, vaccine passports, and mask mandates. All of these measures significantly cut incidental shopping which makes up a major portion of sales.
The market doesn’t need more stalking – it needs less. Every digital check is another opportunity for a customer to re-think their purchase. Every threatening ‘this is for your safety’ sign causes a customer to walk away into the arms of a digital competitor like Amazon. It used to be my job to shave precious seconds off point of sale systems. Everything the government is doing today goes against decades of practical retail system analysis.
Claiming that Australia ‘needs’ a Digital Identity Framework to recover from Covid is complete nonsense. Worse, it is a lie manufactured to scare people into accepting a permanent surveillance state.
When emergency powers first came into force, commentators warned that the government would fight to keep its new powers. Clinging onto them is the primary reason ministers talk about ‘the new normal’ or ‘Covid normal’. They do not want you to believe it is possible to return to your previous life as a free citizen with privacy rights and economic autonomy.
The legislation, and the Outlooks Report it is based upon, want Australians to remain terrified of in-person interactions. It’s why the government’s official Covid signage advises customers to use contactless payment systems ‘for their safety’ even though there has never been a recorded Covid case transferred via cash. It is old-fashioned conditioning. By saying that contactless transactions are ‘safe’ it implies cash is ‘dangerous’. The government really wants to get rid of cash because it presents a serious hurdle to surveillance.
It would surprise no-one that the Outlooks Report and its parent Global Risks Report contain the header, ‘An opportunity to build back better’ directly linking the Liberal Party’s Trusted Digital Identity Bill to the hated global mantra.
The final nail in the coffin comes as Digital Identity is knitted into the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals where the world’s governments intend to fold the whole system into their climate change policy portfolios to promote sustainability.
‘Despite the grim economic outlook, the solidarity created by the Covid-19 pandemic offers the possibility of investing in building more cohesive, inclusive and equal societies. When it comes to the environmental agenda, the implementation of green stimulus programmes holds the potential to fundamentally change the way economies and industries operate, especially as societal behaviour change may spur more sustainable consumption and mobility habits. For businesses, the opportunity exists to accelerate a transformation towards more sustainable and digital operating models, while enhancing productivity. When it comes to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, technology has demonstrably helped societies manage crisis and provided a window into the benefits of more technology-enhanced ways of learning, working and producing – from telemedicine to logistics to the knowledge economy. There is a potential for a new era of innovation, growth and enhanced technology governance in the service of societal and environmental goals.’ – Global Risks Report.
To be clear, the World Economic forum is the backbone of the Australian government’s Trusted Digital Identity Bill. Their goals are our goals.
Part of this framework is a concept called ‘Human-centric digital identities’ – which is essentially what the Australian government is attempting to create as a form of ‘alleviation from global health risks’. The description of Trusted Digital Identity in World Economic Forum policy is nearly identical to the Australian legislation.
Australia’s banks have weighed in, eagerly awaiting the creation of the Trusted Digital Identity Framework so that they can create ‘a rich view of their customers’ including visibility over their transaction history to ‘streamline services’ – which sounds awfully like negative climate choices might end up penalising your home loan. This is a re-hash of insurance companies accessing FitBit records of unsuspecting customers to charge them more for health insurance.
When ‘trusted’ third parties aren’t misusing your data, the government is collating it into their Digital Atlas which consolidates Digital Identity information, overlays it with social media data, satellite information, and other statistics gathered by the government into an interactive database. This will be accessed by both the government and private companies who seek to use your data to create new services which they will profit from without giving you a cent.
While many aspects of the Trusted Digital Identity Bill are disturbing, the critical flaw has been missed.
Catastrophes facilitate the need for maximum organic diversity within a system to locate economic niches. This is how best-practice solutions emerge and recovery takes place. Consumers drive demand in a raw, primal model of capitalism that has historically created economic powerhouses out of rubble.
A micro-managed, centralised force that controls the direction of the global economy will almost certainly lead to a catastrophic market crash – a Great Reset – which will justify the final destruction of our economic systems.
It is a grave-digging exercise, sold to us as ‘safety’.
No regime pushes its people into a cage the day after they’re elected. The trick is to make people believe that the cage is a life raft and the world is a burning wreck of terror.
Humans are not meant to be streamlined and efficient. We are a noisy, wasteful species where our absurdities end up becoming revelations so outrageous that no computer could ever devise them.
The deeper we embed ourselves into technocracy, the darker our world becomes.
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Alexandra Marshall (@ellymelly on social media) writes on liberty, philosophy and geopolitics. You can find her on Twitter or read her articles over at her blog. Elly is also an AI database designer for the retail industry, contributor to multiple online journals and a Young Ambassador with Australians for Constitutional Monarchy.
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