The Improving Digital Identity Act has passed out of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and made its way to the floor of the Senate.
On Friday, Just the News posted an article about the bill.
The article reports:
Digital IDs act as online, data-laden representations of human beings. Many analysts, such as the authors of a 2019 McKinsey Global Institute report, argue they could be the key to unlocking access to financial services, various government benefits and educational opportunities, as well as a number of other critical services. Some of the same analysts, however, also warn that the “risks and potential for misuse of digital ID are real and deserve careful attention.”
Although the concerns about digital IDs are real, it’s important to separate the facts from the fearmongering fiction.
In simple language, a digital identity enables an individual to prove who they are in the virtual world. Proponents claim digital IDs offer greater privacy than traditional forms of identification and can help minimize some of the risks associated with physical documents such as driver’s licenses, passports, etc. Others, though, are quick to sound the alarm, warning that the introduction of digital IDs will almost certainly lead to an erosion of civil liberties.
The article notes:
The high probability of digital IDs being closely associated with access (or lack thereof) to finances and the growing link between ideological leanings and financial exclusion are fueling much of the resistance to digital identification.
But the concerns don’t end there. Brett Solomon, the executive director of Access Now, an NGO that defends and extends the digital rights of users at risk around the world, argues that these IDs are ripe for abuse and that the threats of implementing them far outweigh the benefits.
Citing his decade of experience tracking the perils and promise of technology for human rights, Solomon wrote in a 2018 Wired article that “digital ID, writ large, poses one of the gravest risks to human rights of any technology that we have encountered.”
Coupled with “facial recognition technology and other identifiers,” Solomon warned, digital IDs have “the capacity for geo-location of identifiers.” In other words, tracking citizens’ every digital movement.
Digital ID’s and digital currency could easily usher in a new level of ESG (Environmental Social and Governance) scores. This bill is one step closer to Big Brother watching everything Americans do.