Several of Australia’s more fringe right-wing parties are trying to drum up opposition to the country’s proposed digital ID program. The United Australia Party, One Nation, and the Great Australian Party have all run ads or shared content that invokes dystopian imagery, suggesting that digital IDs would lead to the creation of an invasive social credit scheme.
While privacy advocates have warned that there are legitimate reasons to be worried about digital ID programs, they largely dismissed the concerns of Australia’s far-right, indicating that the recent outcry is more conspiracy theory than genuine political discourse. Critics argued that the attempts to invoke China’s social credit system appeal to racist and specifically sinophobic sentiment, while claims that digital IDs are part of a World Economic Forum globalist agenda often prey on a similar strain of anti-Semitism.
In that regard, the claims coming from Australia’s far-right are somewhat outlandish, with a One Nation Senator going so far as to suggest that digital IDs will result in the banning of cash and send Australia back to a feudal era in which they are under “globalist” control.
The timing of the backlash is also a little strange, since Australia has already created a myGovID digital ID program that allows Australians to use a single identifier to gain access to federal government services. Millions of Australians are currently registered in the program, and the federal government is in the process of trying to extend the utility to the states and the private sector. The Digital Transformation Agency has published a draft version of a new bill that would consolidate the identity program, though the Information Commissioner has stated that the bill needs to be strengthened to better protect people’s civil liberties.
On that front, privacy advocates noted that a centralized identity database would be an attractive target for cybercriminals, making data storage and system access key priorities for administrators. The opposition from the far right, on the other hand, seems to be similar in tone to their complaints about COVID lockdowns and vaccine policies, with little grounding in the technical details of cybersecurity.
In Canada, the right-wing Ontario Party has also referenced China to generate opposition for digital IDs.
Source: ABC News