Precursors of social credit systems based on the Chinese model are already planned in several EU countries – including Germany and Austria. In connection with a digital ID, these reward and potentially also punishment systems can become effective tools of a totalitarian system: Whoever does not parry loses access to their bank account, for example. The possibilities for abuse seem endless, and the resistance is correspondingly great. France is undeterred: Just two days after Emmanuel Macron’s re-election, the launch of a new digital ID system was announced.
Prime Minister Jean Castex confirmed on April 26th the establishment of a so-called “Service de garantie de l’identité numérique” (SGIN). The app authenticates a person’s identity to access public and private services and uses the smartphone’s NFC reader to scan users’ biometric IDs. The system is based on the biographical data of the new French identity cards introduced in August 2021. This is intended to enable French citizens to use a digital ID in accordance with the European Digital Identity to dispose.
Biometric data such as fingerprints are allegedly not accessed. The system is currently not mandatory. It is also emphasized that users can decide for themselves which personal data is transmitted during transactions (which of course does not change the fact that all data is stored in the system).
Some may still find the new application harmless: Germany, for example, already has one similar system. Others see this as a first step towards total surveillance. After all, such applications can be continuously expanded: Emmanuel Macron is a Young Global Leader and therefore a supporter of the WEF, which is creating a very comprehensive digital ID propagated with all relevant data of the citizens. This includes not only the data of the ID card, but also, for example, bank accounts, driver’s license and health information. The functions of the digital ID are to be greatly expanded in this way: it is then to be used for medical care, financial transactions, travel, shopping, access to social networks, telecommunications and even elections. The people of Nigeria recently had to experience first-hand what this could lead to: there, without further ado, 73 million cell phone SIM cards blocked, because the users had not dutifully linked them to the national digital identity database. In such systems, those who disobey must always expect consequences.
The French party “Les Patriotes”, which emerged from a split from the Front National, says at least sharp criticism on the new SGIN. The goal is a social credit system based on the Chinese approach: a boycott is being called for. Even with many French, trust is limited.
Dreams of digital identity already in 2019
France has been flirting with the digital ID for some time: the French Ministry of the Interior announced in October 2019 even became the first EU country to announce plans to use facial recognition for registration in its national digital identification program called Alicem. France’s Secretary of State for Digital, Cédric O, who was previously an adviser to Macron, was uncertain about the project but hinted at the time that there would be “an online identity solution” using facial recognition. In true WEF fashion, O wanted a highly certified digital identity for both government and private services such as healthcare, opening a bank account or accessing online gaming services. He had also longed for experiments on real-time face recognition in video surveillance. The Alicem app was a complete failure – SGIN should now be its successor. Against this background, it is not surprising that the new product should initially appear as inconspicuous and harmless as possible.