A video on Facebook claims that the proposed laws will allow the New Zealand government to control people’s banking and close their accounts.
Influencer Chantelle Baker makes the claim in a video posted to her 97,000 Facebook followers on April 7 about New Zealand’s COVID-19 vaccine pass and the Trust Framework Bill digital identity services.
Ms Baker gained notoriety during parliamentary protests in Wellington in March for spreading misinformation that police had started a fire among protesters’ tents. She is the daughter of Leighton Baker, former leader of the New Conservatives, who was charged with the Wellington protest.
The claim about the bill, which is at committee stage at the time of writing, is false, said Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications, David Clark. Cybersecurity law experts, including an academic who provided advice in crafting the bill, say there is nothing in the legislation relating specifically to the bank.
In the video, Ms Baker outlines a timeline for government discussions on New Zealand’s digital COVID vaccination pass, then says: “This was going to be a stepping stone and a link to the identity trust framework. digital” (video mark 1min 30sec).
She adds, “The Digital Identity Trust Framework is a really interesting piece of legislation…in part because it allows control of our banking system” (video mark 1min 50sec).
Ms Baker also links the bill to a centralized digital currency conspiracy and says it “would make it possible to buy things such as government-approved items”.
She’ll ask, “What would it be like to be frowned upon by the government?”
“They might shut down your banking services, just like that,” she snaps her fingers.
Ms Baker says it would not have been possible to introduce the Trust Framework Bill unless the digital COVID pass had been introduced first.
Alex Sims, an associate professor at the University of Auckland’s Business School, says the proposed legislation aims to create a more efficient and user-friendly system for sharing identity information with businesses and other organizations online.
Dr Sims, who has attended industry workshops to develop the trust framework, described Ms Baker’s video as “intelligently misleading”.
“There is nothing in the Digital Identity Services Trust Framework Bill about the bank as such,” she said. AAP Fact Check by email.
“The purpose of the bill is to make life easier for New Zealanders.”
She says that nowadays people often have to prove who they are and may have to do this continually with different government departments.
“It’s a pain to do, ie passport scans, proof of address (which is hopeless and unfair, etc.),” Dr Sims said.
“Also, it doesn’t work very well because what’s required is inconsistent (and you have to do it over and over again). Also, there’s a lot of impersonation and you’re giving out a lot of information that the receiving organization doesn’t need.
She says that in addition to government-produced identity information such as passports, driver’s licenses and birth certificates, the bill allows organizations to also provide digital identity documents.
Dr Sims said an authority would monitor the system and accredit bodies that can issue digital IDs.
A disclosure statement on the bill says it will address “inconsistencies and inefficiencies” in how personal and organizational information is handled in a digital identity environment.
Cabinet documents proactively released on the bill list the COVID-19 pandemic as underscoring “the importance of a trusted digital identity to provide services in situations where face-to-face contact is difficult” (point 7 of the summary, page 1 of 15) .
In Hansard records of the bill’s first reading on October 19, 2021, National MP Stuart Smith says people fear the leak of personal information as much as the “loss of their bank accounts”, but nothing is wrong. indicates that this will give the government the power to close accounts.
Mr. Clarke’s office said AAP Fact Check in an email that although there is nothing in the bill relating specifically to the bank, “banks are interested in using digital identity services because of their identification requirements for new and existing customers”.
The minister’s office added that “a number of banks were consulted as part of the development of the trust framework” and that it “would not require people to use the digital identity system”.
Wayne Rumbles, who teaches cyber law and security at the University of Waikato, described the bill as establishing an “accreditation and standardization process for digital identity providers”.
“I have read the entire bill and there is nothing … that would allow the government to disable or restrict access to an individual’s bank account,” he said. AAP Fact Check in an email.
“A user can choose not to use the services covered by the bill.”
The claim that proposed New Zealand legislation will allow the government to control people’s bank accounts is false. Cyber law experts and the New Zealand Minister responsible for the Digital Identity Services Trust Framework Bill said AAP Fact Check there is nothing in the legislation specifically for banking and its aim is to establish a more efficient and user-friendly system for sharing identity information online.
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