$858-Billion National Defense Bill Hiding Provision for ‘Distributed Ledger Technology’ for ‘Digital Identities,’ ‘Digital Property Rights,’ and ‘Medical Information Management’
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2023 is being praised by many for finally doing away with the COVID-19 “vaccine” mandate for the military. But while that elimination is a step in the right direction for freedom, the $838-billion bill also includes a provision for establishing research and development of a national “distributed ledger” that can serve to maintain “digital identities,” “digital property rights,” and “medical information management”; i.e. key components of a so-called “social credit system” that’s controllable by the federal government.
Any day now President Biden is expected to sign the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2023 into law, which will authorize $858 billion in defense spending. The bill, despite its price tag, is being celebrated by many freedom-loving Americans for its removal of the COVID-19 “vaccine” mandate that’s currently imposed on the U.S. military. The investigative journalist blog Corey’s Digs, however, has pointed out a very worrying provision in the bill: one that outlines a “National research and development strategy for distributed ledger technology,” which Digs author The Sharp Edge notes is aimed at building “the framework for a digital enslavement system nationwide.”
The near-trillion-dollar bill, which has already been passed by both houses of Congress, references “distributed ledger[s]” 58 times, largely under Subtitle B, dubbed “Science, Space, and Technology Matters.” Section 5913 is specifically dedicated to the U.S. developing the technology, which is key for decentralized (or at least ostensibly decentralized) digital cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. (As Investopedia notes a distributed ledger is “a database that is consensually shared and synchronized across multiple sites, institutions, or geographies, accessible by multiple people.”)
As is noted in Section 5913, the bill tasks the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (a.k.a. “the Director”), or a designee of the Director—which may include “National Academies” or “nongovernmental entities”—with developing “a national strategy for the research and development of distributed ledger technologies and their applications, including applications of public and permissionless distributed ledgers.”
More specifically, the NDAA tasks the Director (and whoever they appoint) with “[investing] in the research and development of distributed ledger technologies and their applications, including through programs like the Small Business Innovation Research program, the Small Business Technology Transfer program, and the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps programs.”
The bill notes that “The potential benefits and risks” of distributed ledger applications “across different industries” include things like: “[increasing] the accessibility, auditability, security, efficiency, and transparency of digital services”; “[enabling] the operations and governance of distributed organizations”; and “[increasing] participation of populations historically underrepresented in the technology business, and financial sectors.” Perhaps most alarmingly, the provision also aims to have the Director and their team “create new ownership models for digital items.” Whatever that may mean… .
The NDAA provision also notes that “Potential uses for distributed ledger technologies… could improve the operations and delivery of services by Federal agencies” by automating and modernizing “processes for assessing and ensuring regulatory compliance” as well as increasing “coordination of the public and private sectors on the development of voluntary standards in order to promote research and development including standards regarding security, smart contracts, cryptographic protocols, virtual routing and forwarding, interoperability, zero-knowledge proofs, and privacy… .”
No later than one year after the date of enactment of the NDAA for the fiscal year 2023, the Director will also need to submit to the relevant congressional committees and the President “a national strategy” for how to approach the possible implementation of “Plans to support public and private sector investment and partnerships in research and technology development for societally beneficial applications of distributed ledger technologies.” These “societally beneficial applications” include, according to the bill: “digital [identities], including trusted identity and identity management”; “digital property rights”; “delivery of public services”; “medical information management”; “community governance”; “digital credentials”; “regulatory compliance”; and “peer-to-peer transactions.”
As The Sharp Edge notes, Section 5913 does not only touch on the building of the distributed ledger infrastructure, but also “promoting increased participation from the public by facilitating research on human behavior.” Indeed, one of the “activities” of the Director and their team will be to “facilitate broader participation in distributed ledger technologies of populations historically underrepresented in technology, business, and financial sectors.” Which may sound innocuous, or even well-meaning as it references “historically underrepresented” populations, but is more likely another way of saying: every single American will need to have their digital assets on this distributed ledger, even if they’re too poor to have a bank account right now.
Critically, The Sharp Edge points out that Section 5913 doesn’t outline specific funding amounts for the research and development of the federal government’s distributed ledger projects. Rather, the legislation states that funding for the R&D will be “incorporated in the development of annual budget requests for Federal research agencies.” For the funding, the Director will specifically consult with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and “the heads of such other elements of the Executive Office of the President as the Director considers appropriate… .”
Unfortunately, even though it’s still possible for Americans to fight back against the development of some kind of federal distributed ledger that could easily become an all-in-one network for keeping track of everyone’s digital IDs and related digital materials, the train has certainly already left the station. Researchers at MIT in collaboration with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston have, for example, already released a paper outlining possible initial steps for implementing a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in the U.S. “The core of what we built is a high-speed transaction processor for a centralized digital currency, to demonstrate the throughput, latency, and resilience of a system that could support a payment economy at the scale of the United States,” MIT DCI director Neha Narula said in a press release regarding the paper. Read more on that via the post embedded immediately above.
Feature image: FamZoo Staff
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