What is Dogmatism and Why Does It Matter? Wed Mar 21, 2018 08:10 | Sylvia Smith
The Case of Comrade Dallas Mon Mar 19, 2018 19:44 | Sylvia Smith
Review: Do Religions Evolve? Mon Aug 14, 2017 19:54 | Dara McHugh
Fake News: The Epistemology of Media Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:52 | Gavin Mendel-Gleason
Officials and Provisionals Sat Apr 01, 2017 22:54 | James O'Brien
Spirit of Contradiction >>
Interested in maladministration. Estd. 2005
RTE news bias – Destroying credibility
Dan Boyle: Corruption…what corruption? Anthony
Tuam ? time to uncover the truth Anthony
Why the establishment media is silent on O Cuiv’s rebellion Anthony
Citizenship status has been removed from the Irish people Anthony
Public Inquiry >>
A bird's eye view of the vineyard
Naval Eastern Med after Sept 17 SITREP Sat Sep 22, 2018 20:51 | The Saker
Note by The Saker: normally, I would place a SITREP in the SITREP section, but since this event has so many people fired up and since Le Dahu provides such
Tales Told the Millennians Sat Sep 22, 2018 19:04 | The Saker
by Jimmie Moglia for The Saker Blog Decades are acknowledged historical markers, signaling the birth of a new generation, and the transition between adjacent but different cultural times. Since September
Putin, Israel and the downed Il-20 Fri Sep 21, 2018 05:10 | The Saker
[This column has been written for the Unz Review] Yesterday (Sept 19th), I tried to post a short commentary suggesting that before we jump to conclusions about anything, we ought
Kevin Barrett speaks about KPFA banning Bonnie Faulkner?s show (MUST SEE!) Fri Sep 21, 2018 02:43 | The Saker
Kevin Barrett speaks about KPFA banning Bonnie Faulkner?s show and the growing trend of media censorship at the 2018 9/11 Truth Film Festival in Oakland, California on September 11, 2018:
Some Fast Thoughts On IL-20 (Andrei Martyanov) Thu Sep 20, 2018 20:33 | The Saker
Note: I don’t normally do reposts, but things are becoming so crazy that I asked Andrei if I could repost his short article and he kindly agreed. So here it
The Saker >>
News on Human Rights
112 Pro-Biafra Imo Women Arrested Sat Aug 25, 2018 14:06 | Human Rights
Traveller Community in Galway Fri Aug 03, 2018 18:03 | Human Rights
Maldives Remain UK Priority Thu Jul 19, 2018 13:09 | Human Rights
US Withdraw From UN Human Rights Council Thu Jul 19, 2018 13:06 | Human Rights
Returning Refugees Greece Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:56 | Human Rights
Human Rights in Ireland >>
Civil liberties, the cashless society sets off alarm bells
elections / politics |
Thursday March 08, 2018 11:12 by Emma Robinson
Despite political institutions keeping the subject on the low, whistleblowers and civil rights activists are raising flags regarding what they regard as a threat to fundamental freedom for States. A trend leading to the disappearance of physical currency, they fear, will inconspicuously and irreversibly invite totalitarianism into our lives.
As the virtual layer of the world continuously expands, more and more things from our daily lives lose their material feel, to enter the computerized and intangible world. Fewer and fewer people know the feel of mail paper on fingertips, or pilots no longer use the expression “flying by the seat of their pants”, as computers have been entasked with more and more of our operations. Amongst the things disappearing from our lives, are coins and paper. Adam Forrest writes (1) for the Guardian: “As more shops and transport networks adapt to contactless card and touch-and-go mobile technology, many major cities around the world are in the process of relegating cash to second-class status. Some London shops and cafes are now, like the capital’s buses, simply refusing to handle notes or coins.” The website LetsTalkPayments.com confirms (2) with hard data: “UK’s popular mobile payment system Paym. has crossed 26 million pounds in transaction volume. Two thirds (66%) of the UK population is aware of mobile payments, with more than half (52%) of those with knowledge of mobile payments aware of Paym.” Would this new era replace hassle with danger?
The right to privacy has been a rising concern for many citizens in the developed world, as they become gradually aware of the extent to which anyone and everyone can keep an eye on them. Large-scale government surveillance (3) was perhaps the primer to the subject, as citizens realized their every move and action was under discreet scrutiny. The rise of uncontrolled data originating from social networking sites (SNS) added a new layer of worrying complexity to the matter, as was revealed by an in-depth study (4) by CyberPsychology :”The booming popularity of SNSs has brought an additional dimension to the complexity of privacy risks. According to Zittrain (2008), early threats to people’s online information privacy came mostly from data stored in government or corporate databases, which he calls Privacy 1.0; yet, with the rise of SNSs, we have transitioned into an era of Privacy 2.0, where the data is generated and shared by individuals, and the “generativity” of SNSs breeds a new generation of privacy problems”. But how does this data jeopardize our liberty?
Traceability is the key word in this cashless society we are slowly drifting towards, where financial information is linked to locations, people and things, through the aggregation of banking and SNS data. When virtual purchases are carried out by a citizen, they leave information within server logs, known as a “paper trail”, even though they are dematerialized. Nathan Heller, from the New Yorker, wrote (5):”With a pocket of cash, you could be anyone: a Russian spy, a birthday celebrant, an avvocato out for a night on the town. With a cashless trail, you were fated always to be what you had always been; you couldn’t flee far from your name, your purchases, even your network of friends. You were always, by your cards or cell phone, outed as yourself”, designating the constant accountability for non-cash-payments. Part of this information is transmitted to the citizen himself, in his bank statement. But banks also keep a record of these transactions. Who can then access these records, is anyone’s guess. Of course, State agencies are on the usual suspects’ list. This is one of the reasons why governments are keen to accelerate the demonetization of societies. In addition to representing a hefty expense for them, in the design, production and management of bills and coins, currency creates a lack of control for the legal and economic policies which they wouldn’t mind seeing gone.
Now, to some extent, many citizens don’t object to having a government keep an eye on such matters, because they perceive immediate benefits and no immediate downsides. In a way, these citizens are right. With transaction data, banks can provide us with instant information, and companies can target their advertising towards things we would actually be liable to purchase, rather than random and annoying guesses. As for the government’s capacity to monitor an increasingly cashless society, it increases their capacity to prevent terrorism, and to fight crime, whilst leaving the honest citizen in relative peace. But civil rights activists are not concerned about today, they are alarmed about tomorrow. Elaine Ou, writing for Bloomberg, describes (6) the cashless perspective as falsely convenient and safe, and also “creepy” : “A cashless economy violates the basic laws under which currency has operated since before the Industrial Revolution. The justification for giving up a fundamental freedom is that it would clear the way for an experimental policy designed to place a tax on currency. Money may be a shared illusion, but cash abolitionists are in a hallucination all their own.” Their fear is based not on what governments do, but on what they can do, our could do with that information in a near future. With a comprehensive list of all a citizen’s purchases and belongings, a government is liable to use public force to pressure its citizens by stripping them of all of their belongings.
It is in the nature of crises that they become visible when it is already too late to respond, or else they would never come to be. Civil rights activists are trying to bring the matter to public attention before populations have locked themselves into a situation where no longer have any escape. If modern societies continue to drift towards the cashless era, they will have failed to keep powers, between States and their peoples, on an even keel.