The Improving Digital Identity Act in its current state covers three major topics. First, it would create an Improving Digital Identity Task Force whose purpose would be to assist the government in creating better privacy and security protections for U.S. citizens. This task force would also be in charge of implementing a digital identity verification system.
Second, it will award grants to states for upgrading their driver’s license processing systems to streamline information to the proposed digital identity system.
Third, it will assign the Government Accountability Office to present Congress with a summary of potential savings to the U.S. government that the proposed digital ID system would create by stopping fraud and identity theft. A more detailed bill summary, more information, and updates from Congress can be found on the official Congress website.
The bill is spearheaded by Democrat Senator Kyrsten Sinema and cosponsored by Republican Senator Cynthia Lummis. Supporters of the bill point to the fact that identity theft costs $56 billion to the US economy and affects 15 million people each year. This means that about 33% of US citizens will experience some form of identity theft in their lifetime, according to Fortunly. The bill has the potential to save much-needed tax money for this reason alone.
However, opponents show a filthy opposite side of the coin. Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the ACLU fears, “…digital IDs could also enable the centralized tracking of every place (again, online and off) that we present our ID,” according to an article published on the ACLU’s site in 2021. Advocates against digital ID implementation believe that the systems could bring further government overreach into the average citizen’s personal life.
Opposition to the bill need only point to China and the authoritarian regime’s use of digital IDs to oppress citizens of the country. In fact, tension recently snapped into protests around the country which are still developing. The government is using its digital ID implementation to track protestors via each citizen’s cell phone data, according to CNN.
Similar government control was observed in Canada during the January-February 2022 “Freedom Convoy” protest held by truckers to oppose vaccine mandates. The Canadian government froze bank accounts and closed crowdfunding associated with the protestors. The Canadian government gave itself this power via the Emergencies Act, which had not been used since it was created in 1988, according to Newsweek. This proved very useful in suppressing the organization. The Canadian government is now reportedly pushing for digital currency and deeper digital IDs controlled by the state.
This bill’s recent progression comes amid the G20 resolution to implement a global vaccine passport system, covered earlier this week by American Pigeon.