By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent
Macron’s decision came despite global concerns about the impact on lives of similar digital initiatives in countries such as Communist-run China.
Macron signed the “Digital ID Guarantee Service” (SGIN) into decree following his election victory over Marine Le Pen. He made a move to make France compliant with the European Union’s digital ID guidelines.
Yet, the ink was barely dry on this week’s order when the ‘Les Patriots’ group, which seeks independence from the EU, already condemned the move.
“Just after the election, the government announces the launch of a digital identity application’!” said leader Florian Philippot.
“The goal: to put social credit in the Chinese way. Control and surveillance company!” the politician said, urging people “to reject” the application and fight by any means.”
Macron’s election victory set off protests, and the president was even pelted with tomatoes. Some French voters also voiced their frustration over the new digital ID plans on the social networking site Twitter. “One more step towards absolute control of citizens,” wrote French Twitter user Chrisoff.
Twitter user John Aimare added: “It’s all starting to get very dystopian… The SGIN to connect to Twitter, Facebook or any other social exchange platform.”
And Twitter writer ‘The Q2 Observer’ noted a “decree has been published for the creation of the SGIN, the mobile app that will scan the biometric ID to access public or private services.”
The user warned: “In France for the moment, soon the same everywhere.”
That warning came as authorities in several countries are pressuring residents to accept digital IDs, including Nigeria.
The Nigerian government reportedly blocked 73 million residents from making phone calls for not linking their mobile phones to their national digital ID.
In Italy, a municipal government just announced rolling out a soft social credit score in the Fall, the first of its kind in Europe.
And in Canada, provinces are divided on implementing a digital ID. While Alberta and Ontario already rolled theirs out, Saskatchewan reportedly scrapped its plan to launch one after citizens rejected the initiative.
Back in France, critics suggested the digital ID may make it more difficult for Macron’s party to win in upcoming elections. One opinion poll showed six out of 10 French people do not want his La République En Marche! (The Republic On The Move) to receive a parliamentary majority.
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