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Canada Initiates Digital ID Program and WEF pushes global uptake

“The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for government services to be accessible and flexible in the digital age. The next step in making services more convenient to access is a federal Digital Identity Program, integrated with pre-existing provincial platforms,” a report published by the government reads.

WEF’s Known Traveler Digital Identity website says: “The pilot group, convened by the World Economic Forum, consists of the Government of Canada and the Netherlands, Air Canada, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Montreal-Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.”

Canada’s Digital Identity Program further cements the country’s commitment to the WEF’s digital ID project.

The Canadian government has previously tried rolling out digital ID schemes, like the unsuccessful federal contact tracing app and the controversial ArriveCAN, which is required to enter the country.''

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is also promoting the introduction of a digital identity system, at whose core will be identity - and who better to create and maintain it than banks and companies offering financial services.

According to a blog post, citing the International Data Corporation (IDC)Digital Trust Index, there are "trillions of dollars of opportunities" around the world, but a higher level of "digital trust" as a universal value is what's missing in order to unlock this potential.

In this narrative, the WEF positions identity as the key element to building the digital economy. The apparently pressing need for this development, at this particular juncture, is explained with what the Davos-based group says has been the recent "prevalence of cybercrime."

Digital trust is described as benefiting everyone because it ensures online interactions happen with people rather than bots, and with identified people, too. The WEF further talks the idea up by linking it with better security and privacy, and such principles like ethics, fairness, and inclusivity.

Who, then, should be entrusted with building and controlling this system of trust based on identity? The WEF says it's banks and financial services firms, citing a consumer survey that showed "almost half" of respondents want governments to be behind "a more secure digital world," while 68% showed "interest" in a digital identity system with an independent body overseeing it.

The article then states (without mentioning numbers) that consumers said they would pick banks and financial firms as the most trustworthy entities to create and maintain a system that controls their identities online.

The WEF write-up adds some doom-and-gloom scenarios and fear mongering into the mix, arguing that with economies around the world heading into high inflation and recession, and the trend likely to continue - digital economy and its potential becomes more important than ever.

But - unless there is a way to identify everybody online, the WEF warns that people will actually stop interacting online.

"And if enough of us lose trust in online services, large parts of the global economy and therefore society will start to break down," claims the blog post, all in a bid to reiterate the dire need of letting banks "build trust" and manage identities.


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