Italians go for the biometric digital ID

9 June 2022 | In Italy, half the population already has the new biometric digital IDs, which allow people to conduct their affairs with the notoriously inefficient administration online. But the new digital identities are supposed to be used for a lot more. Italians may soon be some of the supervised apeople in Europe.

Italy’s national digital ID system has reached the 30 million user mark,” read a cheering announcement on 9 May from Biometric Update, the news service for the ID sector’s professionals.

The killer app that is enticing Italians en masse to get a biometric digital ID card is SPID, a digital gateway to Italy’s notoriously hard to deal with and inefficient public administration. The Minister of Technological Innovation and Digital Transformation, Vittorio Colao, said that thanks to the proliferation of digital IDs, it would become possible to offer ever better administrative services.

However, it will not stop there. A 2018 article on the ID card, which stores fingerprints and a biometric photo, states that:

“Part of the plan is SPID, a new public digital identity management system that will be used for everything from digitising schools and the justice system to electronic payment and e-invoicing.”

SPID can be used to identify oneself not only to the administration, but also to companies that participate and use this form of identification.

The identity management system may be a public one, but the underlying card is issued by a private company: the defence contractor and IT security corporation Thales, which swallowed Gemalto, the company from which the ID card originally came.

it would be a stretch tobelieve that the intelligence services did not ask one of their biggest contractors to build in a backdoor to read the ID-data, and that the company would not comply. If it did happen, or if public or private hackers were to gain access by other means, they will have very revealing dossiers on half and soon on the vast majority of Italians.

If in the future the Italian government should come under pressure like the Canadian government did in February because of road blocks and protests by truckers, it only needs to issue a decree requiring Thales to list all supporters of possible protests and their assets. But this will probably not be necessary, because citizens who feel they are under total surveillance will normally behave themselves.


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