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The Almighty Buck Government Privacy Security

India's Audacious Plan to Bring Digital Banking to 1.2 Billion People (bloomberg.com) 57

Saritha Rai, reporting for Bloomberg: India is trying to yank its cash-based economy into the 21st century. But how do you get 1.2 billion people, many of whom have never seen a bank or opened an account, to send digital payments to each other? The government's answer is an effort it has named the Unified Payment Interface. Debuting Monday, it's a system designed to make transferring and receiving money as easy as exchanging e-mail or text messages. The goal is to bring banking and financial services to hundreds of millions of citizens, many of them poor and disadvantaged, in one fell swoop. The network was created by India's retail banks and backed by India's central bank -- and they're confident it will work because it's built on top of an even more audacious project: India's biometrics-enabled national ID system, called Aadhaar after the Hindi word for foundation.The idea is to make mobile payments and utilization of other services between users with accounts in different banks frictionless. The Aadhaar number, or a virtual address, will serve as the single identifier. This will also allow a person to use several services of a bank without being its customer, explains Forbes India. The UPI app is in phase-I and is operational for a closed user group. The app is expected to be launched for public in the coming months.
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India's Audacious Plan to Bring Digital Banking to 1.2 Billion People

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  • AKA the most important experiment on the way to the eerie cashless society.
  • by sasparillascott ( 1267058 ) on Monday April 11, 2016 @11:15AM (#51884429)
    Quite the audacious plan, be interesting to see how it rolls out.

    Wondering if we'll see the end of cash / anonymous / private purchases in our lifetime? I don't want that, but boy are the banks & governments ready to log and track everyone together.
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Monday April 11, 2016 @11:16AM (#51884431)
    >> But how do you get 1.2 billion people, many of whom have never seen a bank or opened an account, to send digital payments to each other?

    Where, pray tell, did these people get the "digital money" from then if they've "never seen a bank" or "opened an account."
    • Presumably they pay cash to their cellphone company and then use the "minutes" they have bought as units of exchange.
  • Soon Indians won't need to rely on the first world anymore: they'll be able to phone people and steal their bank account details using local-rate instead of international calls.
  • by Errol backfiring ( 1280012 ) on Monday April 11, 2016 @11:21AM (#51884475) Journal
    I am surprised that they did not call it Rational Unified Payment Interface.
  • So, the next time the Indian people get uppity, or vote the wrong way, the payment system experiences "technical difficulties" and the wrongdoers are instantly punished. Or they can use the carrot instead of the stick and people who voted the correct way suddenly find their account awash in rupees. Either way the government becomes bigger, stronger, more powerful, and gains a reach into the day-to-day lives of its subjects. I mean, citizens. What could possibly go wrong?
  • Clearly the optimal future is cashless, based on a competent Digital system. I emphasize competent because I don't think we are there yet. It's still a vision. But in theory, it's the future. Cash costs an abhorrent amount of cash to keep in circulation. In most countries the taxpayers have to fund this. When I lived in Ontario, removing the penny from circulation alone reported to have saved the taxpayers millions of dollars over the long run. Cash is also difficult to store/transport. Bank vaults, Armo
    • by sichbo ( 1188157 )
      Lately I've been working on a monetary system. Bit different to fiat or blockchain currencies. It's using a p2p distributed hash table for data storage, encryption happens strictly "on the client" for RSA signing procedures, it includes a basic cost of living, implicit taxation, and it has more of a focus on "good standing" rather than debt. It's probably not exactly ready for prime time, but I'd be interested in yours, or anybody else's thoughts: http://pretend.money/preview [pretend.money] My account for example is http [pretend.money]
    • It may be inefficient but cash is essential to anonymity and anonymity is essential to liberty. If the government can track every purchase you make they can begin to control every purchase you make.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        If it is truly transparent the public gains more than any individual loses. Imagine seeing every penny that moves between everyone. The people with the most money have the most anonymity to lose.

    • A cashless world is Stalin's wet dream.

  • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere ( 2201864 ) on Monday April 11, 2016 @11:27AM (#51884533)

    Debuting Monday, it's a system designed to make government surveillance of transferring and receiving money as easy as government surveillance of exchanging e-mail or text messages.

    FTFY

    • by Anonymous Coward

      ... government surveillance of transferring and receiving money ...

      In other words, what the USA has already forced all other countries to do.

      In Asia, limited welfare (food, education, health) services means government isn't just oppressive, it is the enemy: So the citizens willfully defraud their own government. Of course, the elected people have the same attitude and control the purse strings; so corruption is endemic. Once again, government is targeting the behaviour of the multitude. For that it needs a permanent, difficult-to-fake identifier for each person. Finge

  • by Anonymous Coward

    How about mass surveillance. For the vast majority of purchases I don't see what is wrong with carrying a few dollars (or rupees), compared to your economic freedom.

  • In Belgium transferring money can be done the same day. System is completely automated. Oh, wait, that is working days. PCs do not work during the weekend, And if you transfer money to a company, it takes 3 days.
    The reason is that the US needs to see who is paying what to whom. Well, not officially, but that is the reason. Because terrorism.

  • What an odd word for a news story title.
  • The real reason is the wet-dream of the power-hungry world wide: to track the 'little-people' financial transactions in real time. It will always be justified by the efficient and equitable application of taxation, but the real motivation is tracking the activities of the Enemies of The State (AKA, the Power Elite). But make no mistake: the One Percent will be exempt from scrutiny as they always have been.
  • We cant even get banks to transfer money from bank to bank without major difficulty and huge fees. and Simple shit like setting a rule of "1% of all deposits go into a separate account" are impossible here in the USA.

  • Audacious -- perhaps, but is it also bold and world-class?
  • Cash: No transaction fees.
    Electronic payment: Transaction Fees

    Now you know why the banks are interested in pushing electronic payments.

    Cash: Anonymous transactions
    Electronic Payment: All transactions recorded.

    Now you know why government is interested in pushing electronic payments

  • The pedant in me needs to point out that the phrase "in one fell swoop" doesn't mean what the author thinks it does. "Fell" in this context means cruel, malevolent, or destructive. I really hope that's not the case here.

    Then again, it's being done by banks, so maybe that description really is right.

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