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‘Megalomaniac Ambition for Total Control’: Governments Eye New Gates-Funded Biometric Digital ID System

The Modular Open Source Identity Platform, modeled after India’s biometric database, is expanding globally despite controversy over consent and data protections, but privacy advocates warn the Gates Foundation-funded digital ID initiative could enable tracking citizens “from cradle to grave.”

Spurred in part by the COVID-19 pandemic and the push for digital vaccine “passports,” a growing number of global governments are considering implementing biometric digital ID programs that would require citizens to obtain digital identification credentials to access public goods and services.

Until recently, concerns about the global interoperability of digital systems and the risk of technological “lock-in” to platforms developed by private actors stymied governments’ plans to implement such programs.

Now, backers of a new open-source platform called MOSIP (Modular Open Source Identity Platform) — whose funders include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar — are touting the platform as a solution to both these obstacles.

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