Digital ID : The London Debate

First there were lockdowns. Then came the vaccines. Next, the idea that certain parts of society might be for the vaccinated only – enabled by smartphone-based vaccine passports. But is this momentum towards social control the precursor of digital biometric ID? Will the state require us all to sacrifice our independence and free will to participate in society? Is this all an inexorable move towards an Orwellian dystopia where we are coerced into constant surveillance, or get effectively side-lined by society?  Could we also be looking at central digital currencies, tied to our identity – that could be turned off if we don’t behave, don’t obey?

Or is digital ID merely an inevitable next stage of our adoption of technology?  After all, there are benefits that we’ve all enjoyed – not needing to carry cash, getting whatever we need, when we need it, via eCommerce.  We’ve also adapted to working at home, connected to the world via video conferencing apps, avoiding the commute, office politics and hot-desking.  Digital identity could be the next logical step to better and safer social experiences. After all, we’ve agreed to it for air travel – why not extend it to ensure the world runs better and safer? 

On the 25th of November we’ll be holding our first in-person debate in London. 

The Motion: This house believes that the digitisation of our lives has gone too far and poses an immediate threat to life and liberty. We must never accept any form of digital ID and to guard against this we must preserve the human right to a non-digital life.

Francis Hoar – Barrister and Human Rights Lawyer
Bob Moran – Award winning political cartoonist and writer

Bill McCluggage – Former Deputy CIO, HMG, Cabinet Office
A second speaker against the motion will be announced soon.

Our venue can accommodate just 200 seated guests so we would encourage early booking. Delegates will be notified of venue, via email, after booking. Please bring a printed paper copy of your ticket with you to the venue on the evening. We look forward to meeting you on November 25thBook Now.

Dealing with the Fear Machine

I had the pleasure to meet Gary Sidley, the former NHS Clinical Psychologist, at the Question Everything conference in London on Saturday.

Gary gave both common sense – and psychology underpinned – guidance for returning to normal on Freedom Day (today).

Invest the 8 minutes or so to watch the video in full.

Lockdown Summit

Lockdown Summit

On July 17 the first major conference to critically evaluate the global response to COVID-19 will be held in London. I’m delighted that TNE will there to report during the day and – hopefully – record a few interviews with some of the speakers. The speaker line-up is exceptional and includes Luke Johnston, Prof. Karol Sikora, Professor Norman Fenton and Dr Clare Craig. 

The goal of the event is to present a series of responsible pandemic exit strategies to ensure that total harms are minimised, without further lockdowns.

This landmark LIVE event will take place in the presence of media, policy makers, professional bodies and will be livestreamed around the world.  You can register for the livestream here.

The response to COVID-19 has without doubt created one of the single largest global catastrophes in modern history. Many countries around the world have been plunged into lockdowns and unorthodox restrictions on an unprecedented scale in an attempt to curb the virus. 

However, a growing body of evidence shows that lockdowns and other interventions have not only failed to influence the course of the pandemic, but have prolonged it and created a trail of devastating short-term and long-term collateral damage that now far exceeds the harms caused by the virus:

UK Hospital waiting lists have reached a record high of 4.7 million people, with almost 390,000 of those waiting for over a year. (Source: NHS)

Over 3 million people in backlog for cancer screening. (Source: Cancer Research UK)

UK national debt at record high – >£2 trillion for first time ever. (Source: ONS)

Over 112 billion days of education lost around the world. (Source: Save the Children)

COVID-19 to plunge as many as 150 million people into extreme poverty around the world. (Source: The Economist)

The long-established rulebook for managing pandemics was thrown out to tackle COVID-19, and now is the time to review the evidence and ask why. 

Be sure to watch the event live. This is an opportunity to critically evaluate the global response to COVID-19 and present a series of responsible pandemic exit strategies to ensure that total harms are minimised.