Connect with us

Brownstone Institute

EU Digital Identity Wallet Pilots Roll Out Under the Radar

Published

14 minute read

From the Brownstone Institute

BY Stavroula PabstSTAVROULA PABST

As 2023 continues, the European Commission appears busy developing and running pilots for its EU Digital Identity Wallet (EUDI), which it intends to make available to all EU citizens in the near future. But while the European Commission (EC) boasts the prospective EUDI’s convenience, security, and wide range of prospective use cases in daily life, what’s less discussed is the tool’s potential for a bevy of ethical and surveillance-related issues.

What is the EU Digital Identity Wallet (EUDI)?

The EU Digital Wallet, often referred to as the EU Digital Identity Wallet (EUDI), is slated to be offered to the European public in the years ahead. According to the European Commission, “EU Digital Identity Wallets are personal digital wallets allowing citizens to digitally identify themselves, store and manage identity data and official documents in electronic format. These may include a driving licence, medical prescriptions or education qualifications.”

As legislation streamlining their slated use across Europe is finalized, the European Commission is advancing its efforts to roll out EUDIs amongst the general European public, where over 250 private corporations and public authorities are participating in four large-scale pilot projects. At the time of writing, the EU has invested €46 million into these pilots.

Indeed, a wide range of use cases are already being tested in the EUDI pilot projects. These include using the wallets to access government services, register, and activate SIM cards for mobile network services, sign contracts, facilitate travel, and present educational credentials. All together, these use cases suggest the Digital Identity Wallets’ prospective utilization across a wide range of services essential to daily life.

Convenience, But for Whom?

The European Commission frequently plays up the digital wallet’s convenience, with messaging boasting that users will be able to use the Wallets to check into hotels, file tax returns, rent cars, and securely open bank accounts. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen highlighted the following in a 2020 State of the Union address, where she proposed the concept of a “secure European e-identity:”

Every time an App or website asks us to create a new digital identity or to easily log on via a big platform, we have no idea what happens to our data in reality. That is why the Commission will propose a secure European e-identity. One that we trust and that any citizen can use anywhere in Europe to do anything from paying your taxes to renting a bicycle. A technology where we can control ourselves what data is used and how.

Certainly, von der Leyen is correct that “we have no idea what happens to our data” when we create online accounts or log in to private services, positing that Digital ID can work to solve a core problem many people have when using the internet.

But critically, the European “e-identity,” and digital identification methods generally, pose a bevy of new issues for civilians in both the short and long term. Namely, while Digital ID can provide users access to services, a 2018 WEF report on Digital ID admits the tool’s propensity to exclude; “[f]or individuals, [verifiable IDs] open up (or close off) the digital world, with its jobs, political activities, education, financial services, healthcare and more.”

And indeed, within the control of a corrupted state or other governance structures, Digital ID’s propensity to “close off” the digital world appears ripe for misuse or abuse. Researcher Eve Hayes de Kalaf, for example, writes in the Conversation that “states can weaponise internationally sponsored ID systems” against vulnerable populations. She highlights an example from the Dominican Republic, where long-term discrimination against Haitian-descended persons manifested in the stripping of their Dominican nationality in 2013, rendering them stateless.

Meanwhile, it’s not difficult to imagine others falling through the digital “cracks” as Digital ID systems become mainstream and interconnected with, if not a prerequisite for, accessing critical social and financial services and supports.

As Jeremy Loffredo and Max Blumenthal elucidate in 2021 reporting for the Grayzone, for example, the 2017 introduction of Aadhaar, India’s biometric ID system, “which tracks users’ movements between cities,” led to a spate of deaths in rural India as difficulties accessing the Aadhaar system functionally blocked goods and benefits recipients from accessing the country’s ration stores, leaving them to even starve. India’s Scroll reported that, in a random sampling of 18 villages in India where biometric authentication had been mandated to access government-subsidized food rations, 37 percent of cardholders were unable to obtain their rations.

Despite the devastation it has caused, Aadhaar has ultimately been promoted as a success, and Rest of World reports that India’s setting up international partnerships to export its popular Unified Payments Interface (UPI), an instant payment system which uses the Aadhaar biometric ID system as its base, elsewhere.

Clearly, Digital ID poses significant possible societal harms if implemented hastily. Despite these possible harms, as I note for Unlimited Hangout, a near-universal adoption of Digital ID systems increasingly appears inevitable, with “Juniper Research [estimating] that governments will have issued about 5 billion digital ID credentials by 2024, and a 2019 Goode Intelligence report [suggesting] digital identity and verification will be a $15 billion market by 2024.”

Further, legislative strides have been made towards the digital wallet’s interoperability across the EU. In other words, key services are being hyper-centralized across borders and digitized in ways more traceable than paper counterparts could have been — all at the authorities’ fingertips.

Critically, the EUDI Wallet is apparently slated to connect with or otherwise include financial services, where EU citizens will be able to use their EUDI to open bank accounts and even apply for loans. Further, language from a European Central Bank policy brief on the European Digital Identity Framework suggests that the “EUDI wallet will bring benefits to all the stakeholders of the payment ecosystem” even including “foreseen support for the digital euro.”

While the European Commission’s keen to spotlight the EUDI’s alleged benefits for “the stakeholders of the payment ecosystem,” it appears less eager to discuss the dangers surrounding the plausible, if not likely, linkage of digital identity with money, and especially digital currencies, where elite capacities to track, or even manipulate or block civilians’ abilities to accept or make payments, could be unprecedented.

In short, EU Digital Identity Wallets are slated to be convenient for everyday civilian use. At the same time, these wallets, and other adjacent digital ID systems budding elsewhere, could also be convenient for governments and governance structures looking to surveil, monitor or otherwise manipulate or control critical aspects of citizens’ lives en masse.

The DIIA Connection

Despite its lack of EU member status and war on its hands to boot, Ukraine is involved in the EU Digital Wallet pilots. Namely, as I reported on my Substack, DIIA, Ukraine’s hyper-centralized state-in-a-smartphone app, is assisting the EU Digital Wallet’s rollout. In fact, Ukrainian Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov highlighted in a Telegram post from July that DIIA representatives had even showed off the DIIA app’s capabilities at the POTENTIAL (Pilots for European Digital Identity Wallet) Consortium this summer.

Notably, many of the EU Digital Wallet’s use cases being tested in the pilots are already reality with Ukraine’s DIIA app. Indeed, Ukrainians use DIIA for a range of day-to-day activities, including to verify their identities to use banking services, hold a variety of digital IDs (such as drivers’ licenses and biometric passports) and even pay certain taxes and access social services for families. Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation has emphasized its intention to make all public services available online: DIIA is to be the “one-stop-shop” for these services.

And, as I’ve mentioned before in previous reporting for my Substack and Unlimited Hangout, DIIA’s scope creep continues as conflict deepens, with the app providing war-adjacent services. Ukrainian civilians affected by war have received stipendsthrough the app, for example, and can also verify their identities through DIIA to sign into e-Vorog (“e-enemy”), a chatbot that allows Ukrainian citizens to report information about Russian military whereabouts to the state.

All together, these conditions suggest DIIA may serve as a kind of blueprint for or precursor to Europe’s adjacent Digital Wallet, where the EU Digital Wallet, already a centralized application slated to assist citizens in a number of critical day-to-day services, could take on a growing number of government services across the European Union. While it remains to be seen what happens with the Digital Wallet rollouts in Europe, the wallet’s EU-wide implementation and smartphone app format, where features can be easily introduced, removed, or edited at will, means that scope creep on a comparable scale cannot be ruled out.

Conclusion

Many people are understandably interested in digital documents and other easy ways to access public services and complete tasks in a digital age. But these services and tools, when facilitated by states and adjacent governance structures, and unaccountable members of the private sector, come with significant ethical and surveillance concerns that should be extensively discussed and debated by the public. In this respect, it appears the prospective EU Digital Identity Wallet is no exception.

But debate or not, Digital Wallet pilot rollouts and EU member states’ respective Digital ID adoption is ongoing, with an EC press statement explaining that “everyone will have a right to have an EU Digital Identity” accepted in all EU Member States.

And while the European Commission communicates “there will be no obligation” to use an EU Digital ID Wallet, EC report Communication 2030 Digital Compass: The European Way for the Digital Decade elucidates that a 2030 target for the EU is for 80 percent of citizens to use an “electronic identification solution.” Ultimately, the mixed messaging leaves room for speculation that, even if Digital IDs are not obligatory when introduced, the general population could somehow be nudged or eventually even mandated into adopting Digital IDs to access key public services.

While Digital ID proponents emphasize the tools’ capacity for convenience and security in an increasingly online world, the ethical and privacy issues I’ve highlighted here signal that, if rolled out hastily, the EU Digital Identity Wallets could ultimately have disastrous and lasting consequences for privacy and civil liberties. And, once implemented, it seems Digital IDs could be difficult to roll back even if unpopular, ultimately nudging people into a technocratic nightmare they cannot easily escape.

In short, the dangers posed by emerging Digital ID systems like the EUDI Wallet cannot be discounted as Europe grows into its “digital decade.”

Author

  • Stavroula Pabst

    Stavroula Pabst is a writer, comedian, and media PhD student at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in Athens, Greece. Her writing has appeared in publications including Propaganda in Focus, Reductress, Unlimited Hangout and The Grayzone

Todayville is a digital media and technology company. We profile unique stories and events in our community. Register and promote your community event for free.

Follow Author

Brownstone Institute

How Did a Small Group Do This?

Published on

From the Brownstone Institute

By JEFFREY A. TUCKER

“You know, it’s kind of our own science experiment that we’re doing in real time.”

A very interesting study appeared last week by two researchers looking into the pandemic policy response around the world. They are Drs. Eran Bendavid and Chirag Patel of Stanford and Harvard, respectively. Their ambition was straightforward. They wanted to examine the effects of government policy on the virus.

In this ambition, after all, researchers have access to an unprecedented amount of information. We have global data on strategies and stringencies. We have global data on infections and mortality. We can look at it all according to the timeline. We have precise dating of stay-at-home orders, business closures, meeting bans, masking, and every other physical intervention you can imagine.

The researchers merely wanted to track what worked and what did not, as a way of informing future responses to viral outbreaks so that public health can learn lessons and do better next time. They presumed from the outset they would discover that at least some mitigation tactics achieved the aim.

It is hardly the first such study. I’ve seen dozens of such efforts, and there are probably hundreds or thousands of these. The data is like catnip to anyone in this field who is empirically minded. So far, not even one empirical examination has shown any effect of anything but that seems like a hard conclusion to swallow. So these two decided to take a look for themselves.

They even went to the next step. They assembled and reassembled all existing data in every conceivable way, running fully 100,000 possible combinations of tests that all future researchers could run. They found some correlations in some policies but the problem is that every time they found one, they found another instance in which the reverse seemed to be true.

You cannot infer causation if the effects are not stable.

After vast data manipulation and looking at every conceivable policy and outcome, the researchers reluctantly come to an incredible conclusion. They conclude that nothing that governments did had any effect. There was only cost, no benefit. Everywhere in the world.

Please just let that sink in.

The policy response destroyed countless millions of small businesses, ruined a generation in learning losses, spread ill health with substance abuse, wrecked churches that could not hold holiday services, decimated arts and cultural institutions, broke trade, unleashed inflation that is nowhere near done with us yet, provoked new forms of online censorship, built government power in a way without precedent, led to new levels of surveillance, spread vaccine injury and death, and otherwise shattered liberties and laws the world over, not to mention leading to frightening levels of political instability.

And for what?

Apparently, it was all for nought.

Nor has there been any sort of serious reckoning. The European Commission elections are perhaps a start, and heavily influenced by public opposition to Covid controls, in addition to other policies that are robbing nations of their histories and identities. The major media can call the victors “far right” all they want but this is really about common people simply wanting their lives back.

It’s interesting to speculate about precisely how many people were involved in setting the world on fire. We know the paradigm was tried first in Wuhan, then blessed by the World Health Organization. As regards the rest of the world, we know some names, and there were many cohorts in public health and gain-of-function research.

Let’s say there are 300 of them, plus many national security and intelligence officials plus their sister agencies around the world. Let’s just add a zero plus multiply that by the large countries, presuming that so many others were copycats.

What are we talking about here? Maybe 3,000 to 5,000 people total in a decision-making capacity? That might be far too high. Regardless, compared with the sheer number of people around the world affected, we are talking about a tiny number, a mico-percent of the world’s population or less making new rules for the whole of humanity.

The experiment was without precedent on this scale. Even Deborah Birx admitted it. “You know, it’s kind of our own science experiment that we’re doing in real time.” The experiment was on whole societies.

How in the world did this come to be? There are explanations that rely on mass psychology, the influence of pharma, the role of the intelligence services, and other theories of cabals and conspiracies. Even with every explanation, the whole thing seems wildly implausible. Surely it would have been impossible without global communications and media, which amplified the entire agenda in every respect.

Because of this, kids could not go to school. People in public parks had to stay within circles. Businesses could not open at full capacity. We developed insane rituals like masking when walking and unmasking when sitting. Oceans of sanitizer would be dumped on all people and things. People were made to be afraid of leaving their homes and clicked buttons to make groceries arrive on their doorsteps.

It was a global science experiment without any foundation in evidence. And the experience utterly transformed our legal systems and lives, introducing uncertainties and anxieties as never before and unleashing a level of crime in major cities that provoked residential, business, and capital flight.

This is a scandal for the ages. And yet hardly anyone in major media seems to be interested in getting to the bottom of it. That’s because, for bizarre reasons, looking too carefully at the culprits and policies here is regarded as being for Trump. And the hate and fear of Trump is so beyond reason at this point that whole institutions have decided to sit back and watch the world burn rather than be curious about what provoked this in the first place.

Instead of an honest accounting of the global upheaval, we are getting the truth in dribs and drabs. Anthony Fauci continues to testify for Congressional hearings and this extremely clever man threw his longtime collaborator under the bus, acting like David Morens was a rogue employee. That action seemed to provoke ex-CDC director Robert Redfield to go public, saying that it was a lab leak from a US-funded lab doing “dual purpose” research into vaccines and viruses, and strongly suggesting that Fauci himself was involved in the cover-up.

Among this group, we are quickly approaching the point of “Every man for himself.” It is fascinating to watch, for those of us who are deeply interested in this question. But for the mainstream media, none of this gets any coverage at all. They act like we should just accept what happened and not think anything about it.

This great game of pretend is not sustainable. To be sure, maybe the world is more broken than we know but something about cosmic justice suggests that when a global policy this egregious, this damaging, this preposterously wrongheaded, does all harm and no good, there are going to be consequences.

Not immediately but eventually.

When will the whole truth emerge? It could be decades from now but we already know this much for sure. Nothing we were promised about the great mitigation efforts by governments turned out to achieve anything remotely what they promised. And yet even now, the World Health Organization continues to uphold such interventions as the only way forward.

Meanwhile, the paradigm of bad science backed by force pervades nearly everything these days, from climate change to medical services to information controls.

When will evidence matter again?


Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
For reprints, please set the canonical link back to the original Brownstone Institute Article and Author.

 

Author

  • Jeffrey A. Tucker

    Jeffrey Tucker is Founder, Author, and President at Brownstone Institute. He is also Senior Economics Columnist for Epoch Times, author of 10 books, including Life After Lockdown, and many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press. He speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture.

Continue Reading

Agriculture

The Enemies of Food Freedom

Published on

From the Brownstone Institute

By TRACY THURMAN  

In every war, there is necessarily an enemy force, and the war on our food supply is no exception.

My previous article addressed the ongoing attacks on farmers across the globe. In today’s article, we will look at some of the culprits behind this agenda. For anyone who delved into the entities behind the tyrannical Covid policies, many names on the list below will seem quite familiar.

Bayer/Monsanto

Bayer merged with Monsanto in 2018, combining the companies responsible for Agent Orange and pioneering chemical warfare. In 1999, Monsanto’s CEO Robert Shapiro bragged that the company planned to control “three of the largest industries in the world—agriculture, food, and health—that now operate as separate businesses. But there are a set of changes that will lead to their integration.” Today these chemical manufacturers control a huge percentage of the world’s food supply.

Cargill and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Cargill is a World Economic Forum partner and the largest private company in the United States. This behemoth monopolizes unimaginably vast swaths of the global food industry, including meat processing in the United States. Cargill’s business practices, along with bigger-is-better policies enforced by their cronies at the United States Department of Agriculture, have led to the closures of many local abattoirs which forced farmers to depend on a few corporate mega-slaughterhouses. This leaves farmers waiting 14 months or longer for butchering slots, for which they often must transport their animals hundreds of miles—indeed, farmers and ranchers must book processing dates up to a year before the animal is even born. The high fees charged by Cargill’s slaughterhouses contribute to the skyrocketing price of meat—all while the farmers themselves are barely paid enough to cover the cost of raising the livestock. The USDA, meanwhile, makes sure their policies prevent farmers from processing meat themselves on their own farms.

Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust, the former owner of Glaxo before it merged with SmithKline, played a major role in Britain’s Covid debacle and is unapologetic about its goal of reducing your food sovereignty. Wellcome Trust funds Livestock, Environment and People (LEAP), an organization dedicated to developing and testing behavioral modifications to coerce the public into removing meat and dairy from their diets. LEAP’s co-director Susan Jeffs bemoans that motivating people with environmental impact labels on their foods does not seem to work: “People are already settled into very established habits” and suggests instead altering what the industry provides, thereby forcing consumer choice. Wellcome Trust researchers recommend “availability interventions” that “rely less on individual agency” to reduce access to animal food products. Researcher Rachel Pechey opines that “meat taxes show a promising evidence for effectiveness but have been less acceptable in survey work…we don’t want to just go for the most acceptable [solutions].”

The World Health Organization

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s Director-General, would like you to believe that food production is responsible for almost one-third of the global burden of disease. He calls for transforming the global food system toward plant-based foods, reducing meat and dairy in our intake, and enforcing policies to save the climate through restricting diet. A WHO 2022 report concluded that “considerable evidence supports shifting populations towards healthful plant-based diets that reduce or eliminate intake of animal products.”

World Economic Forum

You are likely familiar with the World Economic Forum and their Great Reset agenda. Visit their webpage and treat yourself to such morsels as 5 reasons why eating insects could reduce climate changewhy we need to give insects the role they deserve in our food systems, and why we might be eating insects soon. Suffice it to say that their plans for your dietary future are clear.

EAT Forum, the Lancet, and their Big Tech and Big Chemical Partners

The EAT Forum is “dedicated to transforming our global food system through sound science, impatient disruption and novel partnerships.” It was co-founded by the aforementioned Wellcome Trust, the Strawberry Foundation, and the Stockholm Resilience Centre. Their FRESH initiative—Food Reform for Sustainability and Health—aims to transform the global food system. Partners in the FRESH initiative include Google, Cargill, Syngenta, Unilever, Pepsico, and many chemical processors such as BASF, Bayer, and DuPont—a rather odd cast of characters for developing a healthy and sustainable dietary plan. EAT’s Shifting Urban Diets Initiative advocates for cities to adopt the Lancet-endorsed Planetary Health Diet, in which plant-based proteins are set to replace meat and dairy. Red meat is limited to 30 calories per day. A report drafted by EAT found that the transformation they want to foist upon our diets is “unlikely to be successful if left up to the individual,” and “require(s) reframing at the systemic level with hard policy interventions that include laws, fiscal measures, subsidies and penalties, trade reconfiguration and other economic and structural measures.”

The Rockefeller Foundation

Members of the Rockefeller family may carry more blame than anyone else in history for turning agriculture away from independent family farms towards corporate conglomerates.

In 1947, Nelson Rockefeller founded the International Basic Economy Corporation to modernize and corporatize agriculture in South America, particularly in Brazil and Venezuela. IBEC transformed farming to depend on expensive machinery and inputs that priced subsistence peasant farmers out of viability. The American International Association for Economic and Social Development (AIA), a Rockefeller-funded philanthropic organization, helped build the market through which IBEC could enrich its owners. While IBEC’s promotional literature claimed that the company was generously assisting the Third World by providing necessary consumer products while turning a profit, on closer examination, it was simply a business enterprise built on the Rockefellers’ old Standard Oil model, in which smaller competitors are forced out using monopolistic practices before prices are raised.

This tactic was taken to a whole new level with the so-called Green Revolution, first in Mexico in the 1940s, then in the Philippines and India in the 1960s, as well as in the United States. Traditional farming practices such as the use of manure as fertilizer for heirloom native crops were replaced with a model of mechanized chemical farming, using Rockefeller-funded new seed varieties which had been developed to require petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides to produce significantly increased crop yields compared to the traditional crops grown by peasant farmers in these countries.

It is worth noting that the Rockefellers, as oil oligarchs, stood to profit handsomely from the petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides that this new method demanded. The crops grown were almost all cereal crops like rice and replaced more nutrient-dense, traditional crops like millet. India experienced an increase in food but a decrease in nutrition: with more empty calories but fewer fruits, vegetables, and animal proteins, micronutrients disappeared from the diet. Anemia, blindness, fertility problems, low birth weight, and immune impairment increased.

While the Green Revolution was hailed as the solution to world hunger and poverty, it also poisoned local water supplies, depleted the soil, and left farmers drowning in debt as they could no longer independently produce the fertilizer and seeds they needed. Informed readers can see how the later Monsanto GMO Roundup-Ready seed model followed this playbook established by the Rockefellers.

In 2006, the Rockefeller Foundation, Bill Gates, and others pushed the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, or AGRA, and they again followed this proven playbook. Since AGRA’s launch, African biodiversity has been lost, and the number of severely undernourished people in sub-Saharan Africa has increased by nearly 50 percent, even by the UN’s own reports. Just as in India, farmers are being tricked into abandoning nutrient-dense, drought-resistant crops like heirloom millet in exchange for the empty calories of GMO corn. Hundreds of African organizations have demanded that this neocolonial project end, leaving the future of African agriculture in the hands of the native farmers who know the land best.

Now the Rockefeller Foundation has set its sights on the US food system with its Reset the Table agenda, handily launched in 2020 just weeks after the Great Reset was announced. Under rosy language calling for inclusivity and equity, the report states that “success will require numerous changes to policies, practices, and norms.” This includes a major focus on data collection and objectives that align closely with the One Health Agenda—more on that in a future article.

Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation

Bill Gates has followed the Rockefeller playbook for fumigating his fortune and transforming his image—while building more wealth—through the cynical ploy of philanthrocapitalism.

His fingers are deep in every public health pie, and his influence is nearly equal in the food wars. Besides financing the development of fake meats, he is behind the aforementioned AGRA program, is investing in geoengineering programs to dim the sun, and as of January 2021, owned 242,000 acres of prime US farmland, making him the largest private owner of farmland in the US. It is disconcerting to think that a man who believes we should phase out real meat controls so much of the method of production.

USAID and BIFAD

Another organization pushing you to eat bugs is USAID. This may surprise some of you who think of USAID as an organization dedicated to helping third-world countries, rather than as a longtime Trojan horse for CIA operations. (Skeptical of that claim? Go down the rabbit hole here and here and here and here.) Their Board for International Food and Agricultural Development, known as BIFAD, released a report titled “Systemic Solutions for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation.” This report calls for a complete transformation of the food supply and global agriculture. They propose to do this through ESG scores, carbon tracking, and eating insects.

So how do these organizations manage to push their agenda on the global population? We will cover that in a future article.

Author

Tracy Thurman is an advocate for regenerative farming, food sovereignty, decentralized food systems, and medical freedom. She works with the Barnes Law Firm’s public interest division to safeguard the right to purchase food directly from farmers without government interference.

Continue Reading

Trending

X