The tax identification number is to become a comprehensive citizen number, which allows the authorities to access already existing personal data at another authority. This was decided by the red-black government coalition in the Bundestag against closed opposition and against all concerns of data protectionists. The Federal Council has yet to agree before the law, which many consider unconstitutional, can enter into force.
The Federal Constitutional Court has ruled in the past that it contradicts the fundamental right to privacy when the state creates a database in which all data on a person is gathered. This enables a comprehensive personality profile that goes far beyond the knowledge required for individual official applications.
The government wants to circumvent this problem with a trick, using the cookie banner principle of pretending voluntary consent. The use of this principle for surveillance purposes has been promoted by the World Economic Forum and Accenture, together with the US Department of Homeland Security with their Known Traveller digital Identity project and since then it has been used in many places in Germany, Europe and the world accordingly.
In the case of the Known Traveller, this is done in such a way that travellers pre-register with control bodies with biometric features (photo) and allow them “voluntarily” access to a database in which all important “identity data” about themselves are gathered. What is important identity data is interpreted very broadly.
In the case of the citizen number, this is done in such a way that the citizens have to give their consent for one authority to request the data from another authority. But how much voluntariness is there towards an authority? What do you do when you are faced with the choice of either voluntarily disclosing all data, for example tax data, or being put through your paces (because you obviously have something to hide)?
Quite apart from that, it is the established principle of the elimination of data protection to remove this in slices. First of all, the data infrastructure is built up, but with access barriers to the data provided. Only in the second step and at the next opportunity, these hurdles are more or less gradually removed. When introducing the tax identification number in 2008, we were informed:”This number is used exclusively for tax purposes”. Promises broken. What about the promise to use toll monitoring data only for toll collection when the opportunity arose to transfer sex offenders with the data? There are many examples.
In any case, the NSA will not ask for consent if it looks through the back doors built into the IT equipment of the US producers, or a friendly request at the local services, what there is in official information about certain Federal citizens.
The ID2020 project with the globally uniformly readable, biometrically unambiguously backed identification numbers is of particular importance for global population monitoring across national borders. Because, while the problem of unambiguous identification within Germany is a marginal problem that hardly justifies the introduction of such a constitutionally problematic central number for everything, it looks completely different across borders.
For the automated trawl monitoring of billions of people the NSA, Microsoft, Facebook, and other organizations and enterprises with the ambitions need to have unique identifiers. Only in this way can you reliably merge the information that exists in many thousands of different databases about all these people.
ID2020 is a New York-based nonprofit organization funded by Microsoft, Accenture, the Gavi Vaccine Alliance (which in turn is funded by Microsoft founder Gates), and the Rockefeller Foundation. The latter is notorious for its dystopian post-pandemic scenario called “Lock Step”, the scenario of a world citizenship that is authoritarian after a pandemic and likes to be totally monitored. One of the authors of the scenario said only a few months ago in an interview:
“We will gradually accept a lot more monitoring. And in the end, it won’t bother us because – for most people in most situations – it does more good than harm.”
The aim of the organisation is to give every citizen of the world a biometric digital identity linked to him / her. This means creating automated access to all the information that is digitally available to all people in the world. With facial recognition software, this can be done in public spaces without the intervention of the monitored.
The road to surveillance capitalism
The main problem is no longer the surveillance state, at least not in the traditional sense, but the group-driven surveillance capitalism. What will happen once the citizen number is established for all sovereign applications? The same thing that has happened and is happening in other countries. The private ones accept the offer gratefully. A field for the entry of the citizen ID will appear everywhere. When most private companies eventually have their consumer business partners with their citizen numbers in the databases, these databases are quite simple and much more reliable than before.
Data brokers already buy all sorts of data about us from all sorts of sources and compile them into very comprehensive dossiers on the majority of Earth’s citizens. Dossiers that anyone can have, who puts down the money for it. However, as long as secure automatic identification is not guaranteed, these dossiers are only to a limited extent reliable.
Uniform identification numbers for all purposes within a country are extremely helpful. There is no need for the globally uniform number. With 200 different classifications and a limited number of dual nationals, the IT systems are already coping.
But perhaps the Bundesrat resists. Then the march into surveillance capitalism in Germany would be slowed down and time would be gained to stop it before it becomes irreversible.