Wednesday, 21 October 2015 14:26

Orwell returns: Government promises to implement digital ID for all Featured

George Orwell George Orwell

COMMENT: After being returned to office in 1987, Prime Minister Bob Hawke triumphantly announced that he now had a mandate to introduce an ID card for all Australian residents. Such was the outcry, that Hawke backed down and talk of the card disappeared into the ether. In 2015, the Orwellian Australia Card has returned in the form of a digital ID.

Buried deep in the bowels of the 32 page Government Response to Financial System Inquiry report by former Commonwealth Bank CEO David Murray, were some chilling sentences that confirmed the Government’s intentions to figuratively stamp the biblical mark of the beast’ on every Australian residents’ foreheads.

In actual fact, the ‘mark of the beast’ happens to be a national system to implement a digital identity for all individuals, which was recommended by Murray in his report.

Here are the actual words on page 20 of the document:

Digital identity

Develop a national strategy for a federated-style model of trusted digital identities.

The Government agrees that a national digital identity strategy will help to  streamline individuals' engagement with government and provide efficiency improvements.

The Digital Transformation Office will work across government and with the private sector to develop a Trusted Digital Identity Framework to support the Government's Digital Transformation Agenda.

As is always the case with government propaganda, the words are couched in benevolent terms - ‘streamline individuals’ engagement with government’.

In actual fact, what this really means is a more convenient way for government to track and keep tabs on every single living soul residing in this country - from birth until death.

As they have in the past, proponents of the scheme may argue that if you have nothing to hide then why should you be concerned. After all, you don’t mind using your Medicare Card or Driver’s License to identify yourself.

The answer is of course that Australians are not by law required to carry either card as proof of identity or to perform transactions. In fact, we are a freedom loving people who love the freedoms that Australia has always provided and who don’t like to be presided over by authoritarian governments - especially centralised federal governments.

Under this new digital identity scheme, if you want to remain anonymous and maintain the privacy of your affairs, too bad. You have no privacy and whatever financial transactions you make - unless it’s strictly cash - the government will know.

And speaking of cash, has anyone noticed that the good old folding stuff that you used to keep in your wallets is fast becoming an endangered species?

Yes, the Digital Transformation Office intends to not only have us replace cash with digital streams of ones and zeros but also our identities. Welcome to our brave new Australia.

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Stan Beer

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Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 35 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.

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