Royal Mint banks on future without cold hard cash
“The capitalists owned everything in the world, and everyone else was their slave. They owned all the land, all the houses, all the factories, and all the money.” George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four
With every passing day our society is being pushed into taking fumbling baby steps towards a future that exists solely in digital form – a world of zeros and ones. In this time, we find ourselves at an evil threshold of Orwellian proportions that, once crossed, will forever change how we’re ruled and the way we interact.
It’s no secret that governments around the globe, including Canada, have – at the behest of the Americans following the 9/11 tragedy – moved to biometric measures to tighten border safety. By end of year, all Canadian passports will be issued as ‘ePassports,’ which will incorporate biometrics using an embedded electronic chip chalk full of personal data. Iris scans are the tip of the iceberg.
Canada is home to the world’s largest biometric control company, Bioscrypt Inc. The Markham, Ontario, company manufactures everything from fingerprint readers to facial recognition scanners. The secretive NEXUS program, run jointly by the CBSA and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency, is further proof this country is quickly becoming a world leader in the development of biometric technology. The ramifications could be timeless.
Under the guise of national security, heads of state, including ours, have started to rule over democratic societies like totalitarian leaders. The Conservatives under Stephen Harper’s leadership have taken calculated steps to erode human rights through biometric tactics, and invade personal privacy by way of strict and complicated copyright laws.
Potentially even more invasive than having to give thumbs up to pull cash out, or your pants down to board a flight, is recent news that the Royal Canadian Mint is testing a project called the ‘MintChip,’ a form of digital currency that will replace cash.
While the government – and by extension taxpayers – will save coin, and proponents claim theft will decrease without paper on the streets, the prospect of paying for products with digital cash is both eerie and intimidating.
Sure, corner stores and laundry mats will save a few windows, and lunchtime will be safer on school grounds, but ugly crimes like identity theft will be more common than hypocrisy in Ottawa or rain in Vancouver.
Opponents argue digital currency raises questions on everything from invasion of personal privacy to electronic warfare. Still, it seems unlikely to faze the Conservative government, which has proved time and again that what they want is what we get.
Like biometric passports, iris scans in airports and IP recognition devices at banks, digital cash seems to be yet another intrusive inconvenience we, as Canadians, will be forced to live with in future. And, while we’re told these measures are being taken to protect safety, they are more likely jeopardizing identity.
While the Conservatives may not quite be Big Brother, and multinational corporations not yet the Thought Police, it seems that day is coming closer with every technological advance we blindly accept as necessity.
By Remi L. Roy