While I don’t do much with facebook, I do follow a couple people and belong to a few groups, one of whom happens to be Stephen McNallen founder and former head of the AFA. The other day he posted an article about how Venezuela is going to be rolling out new ID Cards based off and utilizing the same system China does called the ZTE, With the comment that this sort of thing could totally happen in the USA.
He is not wrong.
For those who do not know, the ZTE isn’t just an ID card like most of us are used to here in the USA. For us, ID cars like drivers licenses, passports, and permits, do one simple thing. Prove we are who we say we are. The ZTE however goes way beyond that. To put it in the most basic terms, it is a digitally enhanced ID which records every single thing about you, including everything you say, and creates what basically is a “social credit score.” If you speak and act on “good things” then your score goes up and you are provided better access to government and private services. Speak or act badly, however, and you can rapidly find yourself not only denied these things, but considered worse than a criminal. Worse, it’s all connected, so if you are connected to people who are “bad” this too lowers your score.
Now, I can imagine a lot of people insisting this could never happen in the USA because, well, we have laws against this very thing and it violates the Constitution. No one would stand to let it happen. And, well, they’re right. I don’t think even think all but the left most democrats are dumb enough to try and implement such a system with our government. But to be honest, they don’t need to. In a way, they’re already doing it.
Gab.ai is probably the most recent example, but you can look up and find several cases where websites associated with being “right wing” have found themselves desperately scrambling for an ISP to host their websites. There was a webcast I watched sometimes called The Ralph Retort which recently got both it and its archive site kicked off of YouTube, not because they did anything, but because people making “superchat” supposedly said stuff YouTube didn’t like. They’ve now found another streaming site, but it’s comparatively tiny and sometimes handling the traffic, because TRR was generally trending on #1 streaming on YouTube. Patreon has also kicked dozens of people off their website, and Twitter is probably up to hundreds, if not thousands, of the same. Jordan Peterson had his entire Google accounts wiped out, private email included, at one point. Paypal has done the same for several “right wing” groups. I’ve lost the link, but I recall something about Visa or one of the major credit card companies doing the same to a pay service that was “serving” right wing groups among its clients.
Many of you have probably heard of a genre of fiction called Cyberpunk. I recently got into a video game (based off an RPG) called Shadowrun, for example. The basic premise of Cyberpunk is simple. In the (not so) distant future, Corporations have succeeded in becoming so wealthy and powerful, they basically have replaced national governments as the primary powers in the world. To the point where they have their own laws, their own police forces and armies, and governments do what they say. In the case of Shadowrun, for example, they have System Identification Numbers, of SINs, which people must have in order to obtain most services for both corporations as well as governments. If you don’t have a SIN, if you’re SINless, you might as well not even be a real person.
I’ve talked with people both in person and online, and except for the flying cars, the overabundance of neon lighting, and the lack of cybernetic enhancements, we’re living in the start of a Cyberpunk era. Think about it, Google, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook are all monopolies in their fields. Sure, we have “alternatives” but nothing close to the reach of those guys. And it’s well known that all four of them, along with major corporations like Amazon, have all be recording every detail of your personal lives for the last decade. Hell, it’s been discovered that your personal cellphone is nothing more than an always live mic recording everything about you. Ever notice how you’ll be talking to someone and then go on facebook, and suddenly there’s some ad about what you mentioned?
Corporations have decided they are not bound by any Constitution or Bill of Rights. All those little protections you think you have? Don’t exist as far as the Corps are concerned.
To me, it’s no longer a matter of if, but when, such an ID system gets rolled out by corporations. “If you want to do business with us, if you want to use our products, we need you to sign up for these ‘SIN’ cards. We as (((Corp))) do not support racism, bigotry, hatred, homophobia, etc, and we refuse to support those who do believe in these things with our products and services. With ‘SIN’ you will be protected from such hateful individuals and belong to an inclusive community that supports tolerance and diversity.”
Now try to think about how large this system would go. Say Google, Amazon, and Facebook all decided you needed this SIN to use their services to their full, and they weren’t going to do business with people and corps who didn’t sign into this system. Well, the major credit card companies are obviously going to sign up because they’re all run by the same kinds of people who run the biggest corps. So in order to use Visa, Mastercard, etc, you have to have a sin.
Go look at your debit card and credit cards. Your bang or the business you get those from doesn’t run a credit service, one of the big corps does. So now you can’t get a credit card without a good SIN rating, and if you have a bad one they’ll cancel it. Now you can’t use your debit card to get money out of your bank account. Maybe the CCAs tell the banks (who are we kidding the banks are owned and run by the same people) that people without a certain SIN score aren’t allowed to have accounts there or else the big corps won’t support them. So the banks sin on too. Now, most jobs don’t do anything but direct deposit these days. Some have paycards, but again those I believe are run through the CCAs. Don’t have a place to give you your earnings, they’re not going to hire you when someone who can be paid with the system is also applying.
You are now an unperson. Oh, you’re a citizen of the nation and you have your civil rights, but you don’t have any corporate rights and they don’t acknowledge that you exist. And the government can’t/won’t do shit about it because, guess what. They raise a stink, and their SIN ratings go down.
Interestingly enough, if you look up what Net Neutrality was actually going to do according to guys in the know, it actually was the ground rules for this system, helping to unperson people and sites online. At the current rate things are going, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some sort of SIN system coming online in the next couple of years, certainly along side whatever Civil War might break out, and certainly in the aftermath depending on which side wins.
Which is something to keep in mind in the event of a civil war. It’s not just the government and your neighbors you’re potentially fighting…it’s also every major corporation in the nation. It would be a terrible shame to claim victory, only to be stabbed in the back by the people you were fighting but didn’t know were hiding in plane sight. The coming fight is no fight for mere humans, it will be a war of monsters.