The Blockchain Hype, these days, is still in full swing. The technology decorates world’s newspaper headlines, and innovation campaigns decorates international corporations. Also the Blockchain to usher in a new Era of digital services, irrespective of centrally stored data. Advocate prices, in particular, the Potential state of use. Your Argument: Transparent immutable data lead to more democracy and popular sovereignty. Often overlooked, however, is an aspect: the opposite hands of the state is possible. Because the effects of transparency and control can also be used on the population to apply. It paves the Blockchain as well as for Monitoring the path in the cradle of the autocrats?
It resounds to this day from all roofs. The Blockchain is celebrated as a bringer of salvation for pretty much every area of life. The promise of low transaction costs, efficiency, decentralized, manipulatable data. Particularly in the areas of politics and society, the Blockchain offers enormous potentials of transparency and traceability. The conventional public administration is to breathe life into, options, strengthen and lead the policy, more confidence, security, and retention. As far as the Argument of the enthusiasts.
Corruption is impossible, because all the data is open, this strengthens the confidence in the System and the political institutions. The reasoning seems on paper at least, anything other than opaque.
But does the technology deliver what it promises? Here it is worth to pause for a moment. Because the devil lurks on the famous other side of the coin. Through absolute transparency, the technology not only creates Clarity. She opens forced and Monitoring the door.
More than a mind game
This is more than a statement, shows a mind game.
Take, for example, the Vision of a digital health care system, how it operates, all Blockchain-torch carrier of Estonia for years. All patient and health records are all the areas accessible and stored securely, and is unchangeable on a Blockchain.
The pharmacist, the insurance company, the Doctor, the Patient – all are dedicated to efficient. No Confusions. Short Routes. The Smart Contract regulates the delivery of Medications, and coverage of health insurance. Everything is running smoothly. Apparently.
But what if, for example, health insurance companies landscape, and their benefits requirements make? What if I am forced to prove that I have perceived all follow-up appointments, in order to get a drug? What if such conditions for the pressure medium, the forced me either to the doctor or services?
Smart Contracts in a universal networked world
This, perhaps more harmless example of Smart Contracts: as an automatic signatory to the fulfilment of the contract efficient accelerators are bureaucratic procedures. You, however, are anything other than voluntary instruments. You can also exercise coercion and obligation. With you, the Blockchain can be used as an Instrument of behavior control.
This mind game throws a first light on the shadows, like a in the future increasingly digitized world and a system of trust, to enforce it, society could look like.
We think further: Almost every area of life seems to be drifting into the Digital, we are witnessing the transformation of the physical in the smart world the Internet of Everything, the Taxi, the traffic and the Parking are linked with each other. What impact does this have on state behavior?
Here, it is likely to be especially critical if the government of a state uses all of the citizens ‘ data and even behavior wants to practice control. That, again, this is roll anything other than a blank dystopian Thoughts, a look towards the far East.
Big Brother is watching you: The Chinese social credit system
In China, for example, the Blockchain could go through soon, almost ironically, at the end of metamorphosis from the seemingly anarchic-motivated, decentralized utopian Instrument of government skeptics, the Orwellian nightmare. Because while the middle Kingdom is determined to a large state sponsor of Distributed Ledger technologies is fast, and abundant invested and the Blockchain as a vehicle for rapid growth on the journey of Chinese dream, is pushing ahead with Beijing and decided on another major project, that will miss the Chinese society, a deep cut: The since 2014 launched the social credit system.
This should be provided by 2020, all Chinese citizens, companies and authorities with a digital point account. The Vision of the people’s Republic of: All of the social trust is to be recorded. This ranges from tax evasion through the dedicated care of the parents to disregard the traffic light circuit. All of this should be summed up using points. Anyone who does not fit into the Grid, is losing its civil liberties and not allowed to leave his place of residence.
Here could be the Blockchain as the main Instrument to link the ever-smarter physical world and the data waves of the citizen – to connect light videos with the Smartphone. Such a networked world that is controlled entirely self and the citizens, called the philosophy Panspektrum – based on Jeremy Bentham’s Central prison.
What is left then in the middle, is a fully glass-walled individual. To sanction transparent and easily, bound by a smart world, forced to right behavior. What is the heart of the autocrat beat, is for a vibrant society, the death sentence.
Building Blocks: food vs school attendance
The same shows a second example of the political application of Blockchain-technologies: the development efforts of the World Food programme, WFP. First, the Background: Since last year, the food operates relief and works United Nations for his humanitarian goods issue in a Jordanian Camp for refugees from Syria, personalized, by using an Ethereum block Chain. In the course of the pilot project Building Blocks all the inhabitants of the Camps are digitally registered. On the Basis of this identification of food and relief goods without any detours, middle men and not the are claim also.
What sounds like progress, carries with it, once again, guile. WFP financial Officer Houman Haddad fantasized about it, to bind services using the Blockchain in the future, to the fulfilment of certain categories, such as school attendance. Which sounds understandable, revealed at a second glance, as it were, look character. Because, if forced, instead of self-responsibility is the foreign exchange, crucial to the success of sustainable development work. It becomes patronizing.
Even more: What if a school child stays at home, because the parents are sick?
Once decisions such as food expenses are automated, the Humanitarian, the use of the people entirely on the track. Human decisions in individual cases and exceptions would be a part of the past. Certainly this example describes the Act in an exceptional situation of war and displacement. Nevertheless, one can imagine, how such coercion mechanisms control the future fully digitized company – also about the exception.
China, Russia, Venezuela – while the world, more and more autocrats to throw a watchful eye on the Blockchain, the Blockchain from every tongue is heard longing and at the same time a long held digital innovation thirst of state after the style of the conversion, is it worth it to stay.
The raised examples show: Yes, the Blockchain could be used for digital steam engine of the 21st century. Century. All the Gold, what has the appearance, however, is not a long time ago. Because, similar to the locomotive can go hand-in-hand with the establishment of new technologies, significant damage – for the democratic society as the human get-togethers. Admittedly, the described cases of the future are currently in an indefinite, a pessimist. This makes this plea, however, is not insignificant: the Blockchain is not turning out as an Instrument of behavior control and of the forced and established, is critical Reflection necessary.