Jean Marat is angry, or indignant. Possibly both. The Government asked the people about digital ID and they responded, in the negative, with only single digit support for some of their questions. But why so angry Jean, when it is going so very well for your side of the argument? Like you, the public do not have the feintest clue what modern digital ID is about, they just know they’re against it. Job done.
Jean is indignant that the Government is puzzled by the responses. Apparently, only 2% of the public agree that public services for individuals and households should be improved or that any new objective put in place by the Government should provide a benefit. That is rather odd. Why would so many people disagree with that, the Government’s first question? It gets worse. Team Jean is opposed to improving privacy, reducing identity fraud and making access to public services easier. Those are odd things to oppose, en masse. Could it be that people don’t get past the words ‘digital’ and ‘government’ before they put their critical faculties on stand-by and tick the box saying ‘oppose’ next to everything? Indeed, when asked about digital ID, one fifth of people did not even respond about digital ID, they started banging on about not being able to use cash, the introduction of social credit systems and digital currencies. Does it really need explaining that a pound and a passport are different things? If you are asked about passports, it does not help your credibility if you then complain about pounds.
It is not surprising then that the Government surmises, as Jean puts it, “opponents have no agency but have been misled by vague, unnamed forces”, or “anti-digital commentaries” a term that Jean is also not happy about, even though the opposing force is, err, unnamed. The responses prove it is all going your way, Jean. One mention of ‘digital’ and ‘government’ in the same sentence and the majority of the public are triggered into the Team Jean mantra: No to digital ID! No to CBDCs! I even heard our sainted founder, Toby Young, falling for it on the Weekly Sceptic. You have won Jean. You have your very own ‘Just say No!’ movement.
I follow this debate closely and I can confidently say almost nobody knows what they’re talking about. It’s a dialog of the deaf and dumb, some very dumb indeed. When you try to explain, as I did on this site recently, a typical response is “crawl back under whatever rock you came from”. Nice. The Government, which is starting to understand, is also trying to explain – for example, with plain English FAQs telling us what it is intending to do. Jean describes that as “an increasingly desperate set of ‘fact checks’ on made up claims from the imagined ‘anti-digital’ lobby”. It is not imagined, it is you Jean, and you are the one making up the false claims. You do it in your article. It is supposed to be about digital ID but you cannot help yourself and are immediately asking “where is all this leading” and, bingo, CBDCs.
In the U.K., proof of identity is a mess. Everyone hates having to use dozens of constantly changing passwords and most organisations that have to keep their clients separate and secure resort to identification by some hopelessly insecure combination of factors such as date of birth and mother’s maiden name. If it were not so serious it would be laughable. Half the population broadcast their date of birth on Facebook annually when they share their birthday pics and your mother’s maiden name is just your uncle’s surname, also publicly available on Facebook. Fraudsters are having a field day and anyone trying to keep anything secure or private is pulling their hair out. It does not have to be this way, but given the prevalence of Team Jean, people do not even want to talk about solutions. Better hang on to those utility bills as proof of address for another year.