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Tony Blair praises Estonia for its digital ID system, where babies are given a digital ID at birth

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The small northeastern European country of Estonia – which supporters of its policies consider “Europe’s most tech-savvy nation” – is being cited as a role-model that the UK should look up to while introducing digital IDs.

This idea is pushed by none other than former PM Tony Blair, while if you believe centralizing your entire person into a digital ID, and making sure newborns are “opted-in” from the very moment they are born to be the markings of “tech-savviness” – then Estonia is that.

Security and privacy observers and advocates would highly likely suggest otherwise, though; that it is a nation not fully aware, let alone “savvy” regarding all the ways technology (and governments behind them) encroach on their lives in such a profound way can be harmful.

By the way, this is how it happens to the unsuspecting babies: a unique 11-digit number band is put on their wrist upon birth, and while the band gets removed, those numbers stay attached to their identity and entity as humans for the rest of their lives.

“Even before a baby has a name it has an identity code,” is how Estonia’s Information System Authority (RIA) Silvia Lips explained it.

In Estonia today (and during the upcoming elections) a large number of people are expected to cast their ballot using their devices such as phones and computers, via the internet. Not only interactions with the state, even such extremely serious and important ones like an election, but also with many private firms are now done this way, The Times reports enthusiastically.

Specifically, this is done with “a single integrated system accessed by smartphone or computer.” It’s been there in Estonia since 2002, and has been used for elections since 2005.

Tony Blair seems to be a huge fan, and so is Lord Hague of Richmond, who only last week spoke in favor of “transplanting” the system to the UK, branding it a component of a “technological revolution.”

Critics might say these schemes are no more than cogs in a machine that is slowly grinding people’s privacy and online security, but supporters dismiss those concerns and like to talk about “simplicity and ease” – in other words, here comes the “convenience” argument.

The report even managed to find an Estonian who said, “I can’t imagine life without it.”

And how could they at this point: “There are more than 600 services that the eID card unlocks access to. Among the most important are voting, shopping, traveling abroad, signing official documents, medical records and e-prescriptions, banking and paying bills,” writes The Times, adding, “It can also be used to decrypt secure documents intended solely for the cardholder and in turn provide a digital signature.”

In the UK, not everyone rests easily. The scheme is “a creepy state plan to track you from the cradle to the grave,” said ex Conservative Chairman Sir Jake Berry.

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