It is week four of the Covid-19 pandemic lock-down. People have been told to get busy fashioning masks out of bits of cloth, hair bands, and filters they have around the house. The initial shock has worn off, and apparently we are supposed to gear up for the long haul as the global economy collapses around us. Unless you have a top-security clearance, your chances of knowing the full truth of what is happening is impossible.
What IS clear is that powerful global interests, including members of the World Economic Forum, are using this time of disruption and desperation to try and push through many elements needed to implement their Fourth Industrial Revolution program. This includes global digital currency, smart biometric surveillance, wearable technologies, online education, and tele-presence labor including tele-medicine and tele-therapy. All of this is happening against a back-drop of increased policing, diminished labor and environmental protections, and 5G infrastructure installation.
Source: World Economic Forum, Covid 19 Action Platform, Strategic Intelligence
Source: Crown Castle Surges in Q2 As Carriers Upgrade From LTE To 5G, July 2019
I anticipate the next shoe to drop could very well be preparations for widespread implementation of digital identity tied to the issuance of viral immunity certificates. Digital certificates would be hashed on blockchain pending documentation of antibodies from a blood draw or having received a requisite vaccination – to provide “trust” in the social order. We appear to be quickly approaching a “show me your papers” phase. It seems logical such data would end up as part of a health-passport residing on a person’s phone (tracking device), to be presented on demand.
Since the primary focus of my research has been education, I had expected the pressure to adopt digital identity systems would come through blockchain credentials and workforce development – a soft approach that would slide in gradually over the coming decade as young people with Blockchain transcripts entered a new STEM-centric workforce.
Now it occurs to me that a faster roll out would be through health certifications, precipitated by this pandemic. Bill Gates got the ball rolling during a March 18 Reddit Q&A. Then Ezekiel Emanuel (brother of Rahm and Ari) suggested states maintain registries of people who can prove they have been exposed to Covid-19 via a blood test in a March 28 New York Times op-ed. Next James Bullard, president of the St. Louis Federal Reserve, suggested daily testing with badges during an interview with CBS’s Face the Nation on April 5. The idea of immunity passports, “vaccination passess” are being discussed in Italy and developed in Germany.
The screen shots below are taken from an April 2, 2020 feature in the Harvard Business Review. The piece attempts to position the imposition of biometric digital identity, individual and population behavioral analysis via artificial intelligence, and satellite surveillance as benevolent interventions tied to the “equitable” delivery of Covid-19 vaccines.
Public health is being weaponized as a tool of bio-surveillance and profit extraction. Profit will be created through human capital finance AND through the architecture of the surveillance it requires. Seth Berkley, the head of the Gates Foundation’s vaccine program GAVI, is a co-author of the piece. Gates maintains significant investments in satellite deployment and Crown Castle 5G wireless infrastructure. Rebecca Weintraub, another co-author, is managing director of the Draper Kaplan Richard Foundation, which is heavily invested in ed-tech and data-driven crimal justice reform.
When people ask you about proof linking Gates to vaccines to universal digital ID, here it is – straight from Harvard. The intentions of the ruling elite to turn our lives into data for surveillance and profit could not be more clear.
Source: A Covid-19 Vaccine Will Need Equitable, Global Distribution, Harvard Business Review, April 2, 2020
So here we are. Lots of folks are anxious to be tested. If proof of exposure / anti-bodies grants a “get-out-of-quarantine-free” card, I wager many would agree to sign up for a digital identity without giving it a second thought.
But as they say, beware of beginnings. Antibody passports throw open the door to a much bigger program of data-mining linked to self-sovereign or decentralized identity. Digital identity structures enable the vast accumulation of interoperable data.
Pay for Success finance runs on data from services relating to education, healthcare, and housing. Just as public assets have been siphoned off from public education to fuel the growth the ed-tech industry, the same is about to happen with Medicaid and “Med-Tech” as we see a shift from fee-for-service to value-based payments.
Deloitte anticipates a “Smart Medicaid” future where smart pills and cameras are used to manage patients through chat bot interactions that increases efficiency and ROI. In 2011, the World Economic Forum partnered with Bain to explore personal data as a new asset class, white paper here. In this document they advanced the idea of using sensors in running shoes to encourage moms to exercise in order to get discounts on food for their dependents-because that would be more of a motivation that doing it for themselves.
Data is EVERYTHING, and digital identity ushered in with pandemic certificates is the key to turning people into speculative investment commodities. If you want to understand how this works, watch my video, Your Permanent Record.
Those who know me know how much I despise the idea of ed-tech and the surveillance of learning. So shift gears and think about how wearable technologies are being set up to monitor bodily function. Such monitoring has generally been voluntary up until now, though people are increasingly being required to participate in IoT data sharing for insurance reimbursement or to avoid having a surcharge placed on their premiums. But seeing how things have evolved over the past month, it is not hard to imagine that under conditions of pandemic, authorities will not hesitate to enforce use of IoT health monitoring devices in the name of national security.
So how far are we prepared to go with this digital bodily discipline? Device-based location tracking is up and running. Facial recognition is probably in that mix, too. Next up mandatory wearable thermometers? IoT nano-pills?
When society isn’t under lockdown will be there an expectation that all individuals participate in a strengthening regimen for their bodies and minds in anticipation of the NEXT outbreak? Adherence tracked via fit bits and brain wave headbands? Leaderboards? Badges?
Black Mirror today, but how about next year? Five years from now? What is your “health brand” in this new age of pandemic? How “risky” are you? What level of discrimination will you be subject to? How are you managing your health? How are you tracking it? How will we hold you accountable?
Source: We’re not going back to normal, Gideon Lichfield, MIT Technology Review, March 17, 2020
Global finance is pushing this transition to tech-mediated medical care, which will run on Internet of things sensors. These sensors create value through “innovation” and the generation of data tied to the “value-based” care model that is supplanting fee-for-service. The global ruling class is now in a position to impose a new era of biocapitalism. In their digital panopticon individuals and populations can be programmed for the purposes of “pay for success” profit taking and social control. You can see this if you scan Deloitte Centre for Health Care Solutions’ July 2018 white paper on MedTech.
Source: MedTech and the Internet of Medical Things, Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions, July 2018
The federal government has been investigating use of Blockchain to hold interoperable health data, including data generated by IoT sensors, for at least five years. The Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology (ONC) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) held a two-day conference from September 26 to 27, 2016 to discuss the use of Blockchain in healthcare delivery and research. The creation of digital identity linked to electronic health records was discussed, as was linking IoT data to such records and implementing “smart” contracts for pre-authorization and payment verification.
Interactive version of the map above can be accessed here.
NIST, National Institute of Standards and Technology, co-sponsored the effort. In 2001 the agency along with DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) funded an effort of the National Research Council that resulted in the report Embedded, Everywhere: A Research Agenda For Networked Systems of Embedded Computers. The twelve-member committee that prepared the report included representatives of UCLA (committee chair Deborah Estrin), University of Washington, Stanford, MIT, Intel, Lucent, HP Labs, Sun Microsystems, Sensoria, Maya Design Group, and Wind River Systems. The document was meant to provide a guide for future federal research efforts in partnership with private interests as computing shifted from devices into networked systems of embedded computers, which they called EmNets. Nanotechnology is a key element of such systems.
It is interesting to note that with advances in the use of nano-technology to deliver precision medical treatments, there is also growing concern about potential negative health impacts of nano-particles on the lungs. Such engineered particulate matter is being incorporated not only into cutting edge medicine, but also into fuel and even sunscreen. It is emerging as a major factor in air pollution, particularly the carbon nanotubes – almost like manmade asbestos.
We know patients diagnosed with with asthma and other conditions that reduce lung capacity have far worse outcomes if they develop Covid-19. Fatality rates in Black communities have been particularly high. Often residents live in toxic environments under conditions of environmental racism. One has to wonder if such “innovative” technologies could be playing a contributing roll in how this crisis has unfolded.
Meanwhile backers of the Fourth Industrial Revolution continue install the 5G towers and build their planned EmNets with under-regulated nano-technology. I expect few people even know to be concerned. The quantum dots planned for use in for the Gates/MIT-backed vaccine delivery system could very well be the new Teflon.
The year after the “Embedded Everywhere” committee submitted its report, Deborah Estrin, the committee’s chair, was selected to head a new center at UCLA that was created to undertake R&D for nano-technology and sensor networks – CENS, Center for Embedded Sensor Networking. The project was launched with a $39 million grant from the NSF. Estrin moved across the country to work in IoT data research as a professor of health policy at Cornell-Tech, a brand new academic research institution set up by Michael Bloomberg on Roosevelt Island in New York City with the backing of Google and serious funding from wireless communications companies and venture philanthropy. Qualcomm for example pitched in $133 million, Bloomberg Philanthropies $100 million, and Verizon and Tata Consulting $50 million each.
Alessandro Voto of Institute For the Future’s Blockchain Futures Lab presented at that conference and discussed “smart health” profiles and AI healthcare delivery. Voto co-authored a paper titled, A Blockchain Profile For Medicaid Applicants and Recipients, a month before the conference. In it, Institute for the Future (remember them from Learning Is Earning) advanced a number of potential applications including: “smart” pill bottles to track medical compliance; virtual medical assistants; tokenized diagnoses; artificial intelligence insurance brokers; and custom insurance products transformed into non-traditional investment opportunities, which sounds a lot like human capital investing (see ALICE).
Last week a fellow researcher forwarded me information regarding a “non-profit” insurance outfit that was pitching flexible insurance products to gig workers during the Covid-19 crisis. The polices, which are being sold as alternatives to Affordable Care Act plans, hinge on participants agreeing to be tracked on their phones and other devices for a reduction in the premium. There are vague references to sharing in profits generated through the aggregated data. The organization, EASE Alliance, makes it clear on their website that they wish to maintain the privacy of their donors. I bet we can imagine a pretty solid short list of possible funders. The organization currently has 50,000 policy holders. More information on their website here.
Beyond enabling the production of custom insurance instruments, the IFTF paper also mentioned using Blockchain health records in medical pattern recognition for epidemic management. It notes that Blockchain would enable detailed analysis of disease presentation in connection with a person’s finances, family, age, and residence. The language echoes that of the Harvard Business Review article. Those in positions of power are entitled to digitally monitor all aspects of a person’s life, of entire populations, to predict future behavior and control outcomes.
We are seeing a first wave of digital driver’s licenses is rolling out now. Idemia is pushing “augmented identity.” The pandemic is likely to speed up adoption. GAVI, a Gates Foundation-funded partner in ID2020, is piloting a program that combines vaccination with a digital identity. Another ID2020 effort, MyPass, backed by Bloomberg Philanthropies in Austin, assigns Blockchain identity to unhoused people to help them keep track of things like medical records. This program doesn’t require anyone to be “chipped.” The first phase operates using a simple QR code that is printed out and laminated. Though I expect eventually biometric data will be attached to the record.
I want to draw attention to the program’s name, MyPass. I have serious concerns that the long-range plan is to combine digital identity with geo-fencing as a way to selectively restrict mobility of targeted individuals and groups. It feels very likely that health risk will become the rationale for such a system, especially given the nature of the Covid19 virus where people may be asymptomatic carriers. Now that that precedent has been set, anyone could theoretically be detained for weeks at a time and there is no readily available way to prove you are not a carrier.
Implementation of such a system would be sold to the public as necessary measure to keep us all “safe,” but there would be a steep cost with respect civil liberties. Those whose freedoms would be the first to be curtailed would be historically oppressed communities: Black people, Indigenous people, and poor people, often those working minimum-wage front-line jobs. Exactly the kind of jobs that the EASE Alliance is targeting for intrusive health data-mining.
Add predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to the mix, and the most vulnerable populations would most certainly be risk-profiled as potential disease vectors given factors like employment instability, housing insecurity, and complex medical histories. There might eventually be calls for the removal of “risky” people, opening the door to “social impact” interventions that would justify relocations, enmeshing those targeted in continuum of care programs linked to predatory outcomes-based pay for success contracts.
The systems of power operating today have antecedents. We must to know the history of structural racism linked to epidemiology if we are even to attempt to navigate a path towards justice. A seminal 1977 article by Maynard Swanson, “The Sanitation Syndrome: Bubonic Plague and Urban Native Policy in the Cape Colony 1900-1909,” provides thoughtful analysis of infectious disease as social metaphor used to impose segregation a century prior.
Certainly we are living through extraordinary times. It’s as if the world has changed overnight, but it hasn’t really. As we chart a course forward, we must understand that the place in which we find ourselves is grounded in a deeply racialized past.
As we struggle to comprehend this new reality and protect ourselves and our loved ones and communities, we must also realize that global powers have weaponized public health systems in ways that are unimaginable to most people.
Unless you have a clear understanding of biometric surveillance and human capital finance you will be tempted to dismiss valid concerns as “conspiracy.” That is what they want. They want you to believe in the benevolence of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Marc Benioff, Pierre Omidyar, and god forbid even Michael Bloomberg.
Resist the urge to lash out when people present facts that challenge your prior views. Instead, take time to go to the source and analyze the information for yourself. Exercise muscles of intellectual discernment.
The full truth may never be known, but you will surely not find it in the mainstream media. Follow the money, follow power. Know that technology and finance and military interests are at the center of it all. Fight for as much clarity as you can get, and grow your network. We are living in murky times. Find people you trust and build from there.