Is the US Funding an Experiment in Digital Control in Ukraine?

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    by Daisy Luther, The Organic Prepper:

    Fighting between Russia and Ukraine has been going on for a little over a year now, ending the lives of hundreds of thousands of young men and displacing millions.  Ukraine’s Defense Minister, Oleksii Reznikov, invited Western arms manufacturers to test their newest weapons against Russians in 2022. And indeed, all kinds of weaponry have been flowing into Ukraine.  It is truly a testing ground.

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    So, this begs the question, is anything else getting tested there?  The Ukrainian government seems pretty willing to use its own citizens as guinea pigs, and the American government seems pretty willing to foot the bill.  Are American tax dollars going to any other interesting projects?

    Here’s what the US is funding in Ukraine.

    Yes, actually.  Volodymyr Zelensky became president of Ukraine in May 2019, and almost immediately he introduced his idea of a “country in a smartphone.”

    In early September 2019, Ukraine launched its Ministry of Digital Transformation, headed by a World Economic Forum participant, Mykhailo Fedorov  According to Federov, the goal of this new government department was to streamline government services, making it easier to apply for driver’s licenses, passports, and so on.  Ukraine has long held the reputation as Europe’s most corrupt country, and young politicians like Federov want to take advantage of new technology to make changes.

    So, in early February 2020, the Ukrainian government launched its Diia app for smartphones.  Developed by volunteers from EPAM Systems, Diaa has been touted as a way to streamline government services.  By 2021 it had allowed Ukraine to become the first European nation to accord digital passports and one of the first to issue digital drivers’ licenses.  Federov reported in 2021 that about one-fourth of the Ukrainian population was using it, and it was gaining in popularity.  As of January 2023, about half the adult Ukrainian population was using it.

    There is a positive side to streamlining government services.  Diia has allowed Ukrainians to easily start new businesses, making all the required government paperwork easily available.  I can see this being helpful for young entrepreneurs.

    However, negative consequences became readily apparent, too.

    Within a year of its launch, millions of Ukrainians found that their personal data, such as driver’s licenses, social media information, and banking information, were being traded online.  There’s always been the risk of losing your wallet and your driver’s license, but with everything online, the risks of fraud and identity theft increase astronomically.

    Early on in his presidency, Zelensky talked about streamlining the voting process via the app.  Aside from the fact that experts have never agreed about the safety of online voting, by July 2022, Zelensky had banned political opposition parties and shut down media companies with alternative views. Having one central app that controls everyone’s important documents makes it far easier for any ruling party to maintain its power.

    Controlling elections is only the beginning.  Diia launched in February 2020, and by March 2020, Diia was helping the Ukrainian government enforce its lockdown policies, as discussed in the recent report by Redacted.

    The Redacted report shows portions of various WEF summits and at 2:06 has a clip of a WEF paper saying, “This digital identity determines what products, services, and information we can access—or conversely, what is closed off to us.”  Diia (and other digital identity products) have been marketed as a convenience, but don’t be fooled.  Developers of this technology have seen their potential as a control mechanism from the beginning.

    The Redacted report also shows clips of Federov speaking at the 2021 WEF summit, and at 5:40 he openly admits that the pandemic allowed the Ukrainian government to speed up Ukraine’s digital transformation.  “The pandemic has accelerated our progress,” says Federov.  “People are really now demanding digital online services.  People have no choice but to trust technology.”

    The Redacted report traces Diia’s transformation from a convenient service to a military tool.  At 6:39, they discuss an interview in Wired with Anton Melnyk, an adviser in Ukraine’s Ministry for Digital Transformation.  In March 2022, Dr. Melnyk stated, “We have restructured the Ministry of Digital Transformation into a clear military organization.”

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