MasterCard’s new “digital ID” project has a dystopian feature that allows for disturbing tracking and monitoring of the public.
The payment processing giant’s so-called “Community Pass” project will allow governments to monitor the “health” of individuals and track their vaccination status.
Mastercard’s executive vice president Tara Nathan, who is leading the project, claims the system is designed to help integrate marginalized communities into the digital world.
However, the project has only managed to attract 3.5 million voluntary users so far.
Yet skeptics of digital ID plans may wonder about the project’s real reach and intentions as “Community Pass” prepares to expand into partnering with governments.
Nathan promoted the alleged merits of the “Community Pass” during a recent appearance on the company-sponsored podcast “What’s Next In.”
Launched in 2019, “Community Pass” ostensibly provides individuals in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia-Pacific with a digital ID.
The system also provides a wallet for “digital cash.”
The platform provides users with access to services such as government benefits and humanitarian assistance.
However, such systems make it difficult for people to access those services without using the digital platform
Nathan boasted about the supposed benefits of digitization for developing economies.
Nevertheless, her emphasis on using offline digital channels to supposedly “empower” marginalized individuals raises eyebrows.
For many, this appears to be another case of a multinational company trying to sell its tech solutions to unsuspecting communities under the guise of altruism.
To others, the corporation is likely testing the system on third-world populations before rolling it onto the wider global populations.
While the company claims its digital systems will be aiding farmers, the push raises more questions about the underlying motives.
The project is more likely just a method to tap into the vast, underexplored markets of rural areas.
Community Pass seems to be more of an extension of MasterCard’s global financial power grip.
Community Pass is made up of multiple components, Nathan elaborated.
Farm Pass, Wellness Pass, and Commerce Pass all form part of the system.
Each appears tailor-made to address specific challenges.
For instance, Farm Pass supposedly helps farmers gain visibility and a credit record.
However, this digital interference is more likely just a ruse to infiltrate local markets and dictate terms.
The Wellness Pass initiative seems particularly suspicious.
While it’s positioned as a system to monitor vaccine roll-outs, the project has been developed with the intention of tracking individuals’ personal health data.
National institutions like the Ministries of Health in Ethiopia and Mauritania have endorsed Wellness Pass.
Yet, the broader implications can’t be ignored.
The company’s goal is to expand the reach of Community Pass to over 30 million people by 2027.
By selling the tracking and monitoring features to governments, the company may well achieve this target.
Nevertheless, it sounds more like a corporate conquest than a genuine effort to “help” people.
The project’s privacy concerns are evident.
Digital identities could well turn into tools for invasive surveillance under the pretense of “progress.”
Such levels of government monitoring will only serve to jeopardize the very rights of the people that the creators of these systems claim to want to “help.”
The corporate giant’s recent ID2020 certification supports the company’s intention to offer “financial inclusion” and digital identity services.
However, with technology’s relentless pace, there’s a dire need for strict regulations.
Policymakers must be wary and ensure that such initiatives don’t compromise individuals’ freedoms under the guise of “inclusion” and so-called progress.