By Mark Ellis –
Three years ago, Microsoft joined ID2020, a global Alliance whose objective is to create digital identities for all people throughout the earth.
The alliance movement began at a U.N. meeting in 2016, and includes governments, more than 150 major corporations, academia, and 11 U.N. agencies.
Its goals will undoubtedly be troubling to Christians cognizant of the signs of the times.
In their release about joining the alliance, a writer for Microsoft stated: “Participation in the modern economy, the ability to buy and sell, attain employment, healthcare, social services and more are virtually impossible without a digital identity.”
Microsoft’s statement – before the worldwide pandemic — noted a humanitarian component, providing an ID for one billion refugees, women, children currently lacking any form of identification.
Certainly, the global pandemic increased the urgency in some people’s minds for such a system, especially if a more serious health or food emergency presents itself.
According to the Alliance’s Governance material “by 2030 it aims to have facilitated the scaling of a safe, verifiable, persistent digital identity system, consistent with the Sustainable Development Goals agreed upon by the United Nations.”
The alliance will seek to develop and test the best technological solutions for digital identity and work with governments for their realization. The state-owned Swedish rail company, SJ, has been offering passengers the option of using a biometric chip implanted in the hand in lieu of a paper train ticket since 2017. The technology allows conductors to scan passengers’ hands.
The Microsoft statement noted that Blockchain technology will foster decentralized identification, because “Each of us needs a digital identity we own, one which securely and privately stores all elements of our digital identity.”
“Microsoft’s goal is to help establish universal and scalable standards for these decentralized digital identities using blockchain technology. In a blockchain information exists as a shared database that is consistently reconciled. Blockchain data doesn’t exist in a centralized location but is hosted on millions of computers across the internet. The Alliance is using this secure and virtually ‘unhackable’ system to create a decentralized identity framework for the world’s population.”
The digital ID could be on a smartphone, something wearable, implanted like the Swedish rail system, or even tattooed, making it much easier for buying and selling, using mass transit, opening hotel room doors, and attending sports and entertainment events.
The digital ID will help refugees and displaced people find government services. “This onboarding of even the disenfranchised onto the digital landscape is paramount to the ID2020 Alliances goal to provide a universally accepted identification system for everyone on the planet. It is important to note this identification system’s objective is to create the foundation to unify the world’s citizens participation in a global community and universal digital economy. Secure and verifiable identity, as with any digital transaction, is foundational to this vision,” Microsoft noted.
“The alliance stresses that digital identity is the cornerstone of international development and believes a digital identity should be with a person from birth to death.”
Microsoft acknowledged ethical concerns, ones that will be troubling to many: Will the digital ID become a global mandate and who will enforce it? What happens to those individuals who are unwilling to participate? Will they be persecuted?
“As more and more transactions become digital in nature and are built around a single global identification standard, supported by Microsoft, the question of who will govern this evolving global community and economy becomes relevant. Especially since nonparticipants in this system would be unable to buy or sell goods or services.”