Old Ladies and New Technology

Today’s Digital Revolution takes us yet further down a road that could result in us losing all control over our lives. But it’s not quite that straightforward.

In that opening statement I of course refer to the dangers a cashless society poses, especially with regard to such technology removing the last of our privacy entirely even as it provides opportunities for others to control our very existence remotely.

Despite what some Bitcoin geeks may say,  privacy cannot be guaranteed in any purchase made by means other than cash or straight barter. Wherever a financial transaction uses card, other contactless devices (e.g., a smartphone) or blockchain cryptocurrency, details are logged on a database somewhere.

Fiat currency, such as notes and coins, presents its own problems but a loss of personal privacy -as long as there’s no CCTV watching from above – needn’t be one of them.

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Stereotypes

I watched a very old lady the other day as she fumbled around in her shopping bag. This took place in a supermarket queue where she went on to tap her debit card against a reader sat on the counter before leaving with her groceries.

Delighting at such an unexpected sight, I remembered how the last person I’d seen use contactless (and in that same store) was a young beta-male sporting a short goatee – surely the expected avatar for today’s generation of tech literates?

Maybe the old lady would otherwise have taken forever to scrobble through her purse for the right coins and notes? Her hands looked arthritic enough.

Perhaps her contactless card served as an indispensable aid that helped her maintain independence in infirmity? Tech working for our benefit!

DIGITAL SURVIVOR examines changes in society brought about by our Digital Revolution.

Dangers

Would either of the above pair ever complain about banks and shops disappearing from high streets? According to survey results published earlier this year, people are increasingly shopping online and many don’t care at all about their high streets.

Do they give a hoot about giving away their personal privacy or realise how a glitch in the matrix might shut down their lives entirely? Despite Edward Snowden’s revelations about state mass surveillance, a 2016 YouGov poll found many Brits happy to allow surveillance in return for notional security.

As use of debit cards overtakes cash, we are sleepwalking towards a cashless society. As with all tech today, this is sold to us in the name of “convenience”.

(TIP: Try stepping out of your home with absolutely no form of currency and see just how far you get. That is how free we are in today’s world.)

Nothing here is free

Bano of England's Mark Carney talks with Facebook's Zuckerberg about Libra.

Establishment insider and Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney was in secretive talks only last week with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg about the social media platforms new digital currency “Libra”.

Carney reportedly believes the $USD no longer deserves its status as the major trading currency at this time when it is used in only about 10 percent of purchasing transactions worldwide; the implication being that a replacement needs to be found and digital provides the answer.

Switching everyone across to a cashless society would certainly ease central banks ability to set negative interest rates in order to counter times of economic difficulty. If commanded to do so by the Bank for International Settlements, they could then seize their investors’ money and savers’ deposits with no danger of a run on the bank à la Northern Rock.

Such a switch would also hand currently unaccountable tech companies a lot of power over the world’s economic systems. These entities already censor free speech according to political bias on their platforms.

Indeed, states and supranational bodies (like the European Union) have been waging a war for several years now against citizens being able to use cash for larger transactions. The excuse usually given is one of “preventing money laundering”  (surely laughable coming from any government).

Meanwhile “The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street”, as the Bank of England is referred to in some circles, stands in no queue as she intends contactless transaction technology and digital currency for all.

Will you continue to resist taking the chip?

(Thanks to The Hated One for uploading this clip to Youtube)