Mark of the Beast? Religion’s Impact on Identity
Mark of the Beast? Religions Impact On Identity
Convener(s): Alan Viars
Notes-taker(s): Alan Viars
Tags for the session - technology discussed/ideas considered:
Discussion notes, key understandings, outstanding questions, observations, and, if appropriate to this discussion: action items, next steps:
This session was held to discuss general reservations and apprehension towards identity systems based on faith. It became quickly apparent that there are a number of subgroups of people who have a moral or religious objection to identity systems in general. The notes include key observations and mitigation strategies.
- Our session did not have representation from all religious groups. We would love to have content added here.
- While no factual or statistical information was introduced, we identified that there is a particular aversion to identity systems in certain Christian groups.
- We surmised these opinions amongst certain Christian subgroups were more common in the United States than elsewhere. We also hypothesized here exists a geographic correlation coincides with these beliefs. (e.g. these views found often in the Bible Belt / Rust Belt).
- The Christian belief stems primarily from “end of days” prophecy. In particular, it comes from the Book of Revelation chapter 13, verse 17. “And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name”. The gist to the relevant parts of Revelation is that it predicts that at the end of time there will be a single world order. People will have to take a “mark” of 3 6s (“666”) in order to buy or sell. Any required identity system may seem a step in the direction of this prediction.
- A quick Internet search reveals apparent politicizing identity in connection with this religious imagery. The following example compares Obamacare with Nazi Germany.
- Aversion to identity systems is not limited to people with objections based on religious beliefs. There are many secular people who also have aversions to identity with similar thought patterns. Aversion arises from privacy and security concerns. The implication is that identity systems = being “tracked”. They view identity broadly as “big brother”. Many non-religious people share the fear that identity systems mean tracking and a loss of self-sovereignty.
Real World Effects
Some systems are designed not to hand out identifiers with “666”. Some Examples:
- A social security card cannot begin with “666”.
- A National Provider Identifier may not contain “666”.
- A notion of a National Patient Identifier has been gagged, but now https://www.modernhealthcare.com/politics-policy/house-votes-overturn-ban-national-patient-identifier
Ways to Mitigate Aversion Real World Requirements:
Some ways to mitigate aversion were discussed.
- Anytime participation in a system is optional, aversion is automatically lessened. This may not always be possible. Sometimes it’s a hard choice. For example: Real ID. While a Real ID proofing is not required, not having it means you will be unable to board a commercial aircraft.
- Allowing people to choose their ID was cited as a way to people feel for comfortable using an ID system.
- Limiting information collected and disclosing its uses may reduce aversion.
- The concepts of decentralized identifiers and self-sovereign identity may work to combat aversion.