From February 2 – February 26, 2021 more than 7,700 individuals and small- and medium-sized businesses provided the Government of Ontario with their views about digital identification. That input will be used by the Government “to create [its] plan and ensure digital ID is helpful to both residents and businesses in Ontario.”
Given how very well members of the PACC community understand privacy implications of digital technologies, it is unsurprising that every person who commented, whether publicly or privately, was against Digital ID. Unlike the Government that has focused on the convenience of Digital ID and its potential to reduce fraud, not a single comment PACC received was in support of the scheme. Rather, the overall sentiment was that people “most emphatically disagree with this invasion of privacy.”
Criticisms ranged from concern about inadequate website and database security, noting that amassing biometric information will make it an attractive target that will “be very accessible to hackers for access our information.” Concerns were backed up with countless examples citing the many banks, hospitals, and government agencies such as Canada Revenue Agency that have been the subject of hacks, leaks, and ransomware attacks.
Other comments expressed trepidation about governments pushing all activity online, and facilitating detailed tracking of individuals’ preferences, practices, and politics.
The Government is “reviewing the results of the consultations and will report back” in the Spring of 2021 with what it learned and what its next steps will be — yet, as is so often the case with public consultations, though, the Ontario Government has already announced that it “will begin introducing digital ID to Ontario individuals in late 2021.” https://www.ontario.ca/page/ontarios-digital-id-plan