A cashless society promises a world of limitation, control, and surveillance, which the poorest Americans already have in abundance. Financial censorship could become pervasive, unbarred by any meaningful legal rights or guarantees.
The U.S. Supreme Court has held that police can search phones with a valid warrant and compel a person in custody to provide physical evidence such as fingerprints without a judge’s permission.
Beginning this summer, the Japanese government will test a system in which foreign tourists will be able to use their fingerprints to make purchases.
The government hopes to increase the number of foreign tourists by using the system to prevent crime and relieve users from the necessity of carrying cash or credit cards. It aims to realize the system by the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The experiment will have inbound tourists register their fingerprints and other data, such as credit card information, at airports and elsewhere. Tourists would then be able to conduct tax exemption procedures and make purchases after verifying their identities by placing two fingers on special devices installed at stores.
It is interesting that the government would choose to take fingerprints as cash considering that some are undoubtedly going to be wary of privacy implications and the fact that less invasive ways to go cashless exist.
Could this be a part of a bigger plan to collect personal data and phase out cash?
In Japan cash is already being phased out by phone wallet services. One of the popular services alone has over 50 million users… source
Read: Japan’s wallet phones point the way to the cashless society
A 34-year-old engineer from Tokyo, Mr Ishizaka uses an electronic chip embedded in his phone to pay for food and drinks each day. The cashless society has long been a dream of futurists, and Japan’s current experience suggests it’s not far off being realized. “If we’re having a record of all our exchanges, then that starts to profile you,” he said. “I would be resistant to any cashless system that comes directly into your body like an implantable chip, which is a possibility.”
Read: Singapore on way to cashless society
Read: Sweden and Denmark The Cashless Society Cometh
The plan to phase out cash has been openly discussed in Japan (and around the world) for quite some time now.
Nearly every modern smart phone comes with a fingerprint reader — but they’re not as secure as they look. All it takes to fake a fingerprint is dentistry paste and some Play-Doh.
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Related: First man to pay for merchandise with his hand.