Recently, I found a post online which I cannot verify but that goes a long way to stoke the concerns regarding digital ID systems and their implementation at national and international levels many of us have been monitoring over the past years.
The X (Twitter) post reads as follows:
Of course, Belgium is the administrative centre of the European Union. It brings together peoples from many different nations, races, cultures, and religions, and represents an optimal ‘testing lab’ for this social experiment of which we cannot really understand its utmost consequences.
Because the testimony is personal and Noel does not provide in his post any backing information or source that may be vetted and verified, I think that a quick summary of ‘how we got here?’ may be of use and may provide us with reassurances as to why and how we are all experiencing these changes in our way of life.
I’ll start back in 2018 when the EU made official its plans to implement the Cross-border digital identification for EU countries, a major step for a trusted Digital Single Market
The Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, in charge of Digital Economy and Society, stated then:
The plan was put in place officially back in 2016 based on previous changes to the ‘rules on trust services’ to allow them to “flow freely across the EU”. Most EU countries adhered initially to the initiative, and the laggards (including the UK at the time) expressed interest in setting up the eID scheme for access to national public services.
An example of how EU Law on privacy works
To provide some background on how these schemes and measures related to the systematic compilation of private data and its use by the state get to be implemented, we will outline below the process undergone for the approval of fingerprint marks on ID cards in Belgium.
The Belgian Data Protection Authority found the law redundant. They argued that existing IDs already have anti-counterfeiting features and a biometric element, which they believe are sufficient to combat identity fraud.
The COSIC research group at KU Leuven supported this view in a study. However, they also criticized the law for not specifying which government service can access the National Registry. This lack of clarity could potentially lead to fingerprints being used for purposes beyond their initial intent. This was a significant shortcoming that needed to be addressed.
In March 2019, a request was also made before the Belgian Constitutional Court to annul Article 27 of the Fingerprint Law, arguing it violated privacy rights. It contended that existing ID features were inadequate for authenticating cardholders and that the law was disproportionate given the low incidence of identity card fraud. The request also criticized the unnecessary use of a database for temporary fingerprint storage, suggesting that fingerprints could be directly written on the eID during its creation. It further highlighted the law’s lack of clarity on which government agency could access this database.
Despite all these issues having been raised by several parties,
The Court also stated that the measure was necessary in a democratic society as
We can see clearly that authorities whether elected or unelected invariably find their way to impose on peoples across the globe mechanisms that will facilitate the storage, control, and ‘right of access’ to society. To achieve this, authorities, whether the Chinese Communist Party now ruling over Hong Kong or the EU imposing its dubious mandate over Belgians, will always find a way to twist the law without the people’s direct mandate and make it support their agendas. (Article)
How long will it take to implement?
An announcement made on the Belgian press on the 6 of July 2022 said that the Belgian Federal Government, was enabling residents to store digital versions of their national identity cards and other official credentials in a smartphone-based digital ID wallet. This state-run system would be complementing their existing digital identity app, Itsme, which was already used for online government services.
The Belgian Federal Government also planned to develop this system during 2023, as announced by their Secretary of State for Digitalisation, Mathieu Michel.
A variety of approaches to digital identities across the European continent have been undertaken, with varying degrees of success. While the idea of accessing public services seamlessly through a smartphone might seem straightforward, the reality is that the successful implementation of such a system remains elusive for most European countries. Some nations are still wrestling with deep-seated privacy issues, while others have successfully launched digital identity programs.
The EU’s ambitions extend beyond mere digitalisation policies to encompass the entirety of the European experience. The bloc has set targets for digital identity usage, aiming for 80% of citizens to be using digital identities by 2030.
However, the current state of digital identity in Europe suggests that most countries will struggle to meet this goal.
For instance, in Belgium, a private consortium launched the national digital identity scheme ‘Itsme’ some years ago. This mobile application allows Belgians to access a wide range of public and private services. Since its launch, more than six million Belgians have used the service, with 25 to 35 million transactions completed each month. This rapid uptake of digital ID in Belgium has significantly impacted the lives of its citizens as evidenced by the decline in the use of alternative methods of physical identification.
However, the journey hasn’t been without challenges. A recent survey revealed specific issues that Belgians faced with their digital identity transactions. Despite these hurdles, the move towards digital identities is an inevitable part of our future as European citizens. It is fascinating to watch this transformation unfold. (source)
The EU’s digital identity system faces significant policy and operational challenges that need to be addressed to ensure a safe, seamless digital ID system across the EU. The initiative, which began in 2014 with the adoption of the eIDAS legislation, was updated in June 2021 to require member states to create a national digital ID linked to the European digital wallet.
The wallet would host the information in a user’s national digital ID and give people full control of their data. The Commission’s proposal promised high-level security, with member states required to meet strict privacy and data protection requirements. Despite these advancements, the project still faces technical and legislative hurdles. (source)
The revised eIDAS regulation in the ITRE Committee paves the way for negotiations among the Commission, Parliament, and Council of the European Union. The final agreement was reached in November 2023 by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU at the final trialogue on the Regulation introducing European Digital Identity Wallets.
“This marks an important step towards the Digital Decade 2030 targets on the digitalisation of public services. All EU citizens will be offered the possibility to have an EU Digital Identity Wallet to access public and private online services in full security and protection of personal data all over Europe.” (source)
Issues with ID technologies
Browser providers like Google and Mozilla were against the requirement for additional trust certificates, arguing that it compromises security and necessitates significant web infrastructure changes. Companies and trade groups were also resisting the mandate for key industries to accept the EU Digital Identity wallets. Apple, for example, argued that integrating the wallet would impose significant costs and disadvantage smaller companies and start-ups with competing digital identity services.
On the public interest side, there were concerns about the proposed requirement for unique identifiers in digital IDs. The European Digital Rights (EDRi) group warned that these could be used to track users’ activities and may be unconstitutional in some countries. However, there have been indications of a shift towards less invasive methods for authentication.
The EU’s Covid-19 certificate, which incorporated principles of unobservability and privacy by design, is currently seen as a successful precedent. However, the digital ID framework is more complex due to its wider range of use cases. As such, it’s uncertain whether the same rapid development can be achieved.
Belgian smartphone users find their devices incredibly useful for a variety of tasks. They regularly use them for physical payments and it’s their go-to for online banking and in-store purchases. However, when it comes to online shopping and streaming, they prefer using their laptops. Despite the convenience smartphones offer, 71% of Belgians don’t want a digital ID on their phones, and the 79% don’t want a mobile driver’s license. This isn’t due to a distrust of the technology, but rather a reaction to the centralisation of everything in our lives around the smartphone. They see traditional physical cards as more reliable and accessible.
On the other hand, they seem open to using their phones for biometric health monitoring. Many count their steps each day and monitor their heart rate and sleep patterns. 54% of Belgians keep track of health data and would like to share that data with their doctor. Despite these various uses, Belgians still value the separation of certain aspects of their lives from their smartphone. (source)
As seen in the progression described above from idea, to changes in regulation guidelines, to introduction of legislation, and ensuing implementation, a clear and, it would seem, unalterable trajectory towards the cataloguing and classification of every citizen is taking place in nations that have grown to value liberty, privacy, and free access to society.
Despite the several concerted challenges made by various concerned groups and individuals (the examples shown above are not exhaustive), the planned EU database for uploading of all individuals within their jurisdiction is taking place with no small amount of success. Once all alternatives are removed and traditional identification methods (cards, keys, cash, etc.) are removed from circulation, the resistance shown and the evident preferences voiced by people in polls and research, though still strong, will not be able to stop a full transition to digital IDs.
We have been asking over many years now, how these technological advances stand the test of Bible prophecy, and especially, of Revelation chapter 13 verses 11-18 where the Antichrist – the end days despot and representative of the Devil on earth – will use the ‘mark of the Beast’ system to create large scale subservience and secure control over the behaviour of many, perhaps a majority of the people. The Bible tells us how. (source)