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  • Prof Steve Worthington

'Exaggerating the death of cash.'

"The report also states the charge towards a cashless society poses a democratic risk to citizens. “Whenever civil rights are not respected by the government, cash - much more than digital payments - helps opposition activists to protect themselves from the illegitimate use of public power, for example from surveillance and intimidation.”

Allowing cash to ‘wither on the vine’ would further the rise of the surveillance society, graphically illustrated by the recent protests in Hong Kong. Normally, the contactless and hugely popular Octopus card allows digital payments for public transport and many retail purchases and is a central part of life for Hong Kongers.

Yet during the protests there were long queues to buy single journey transit tickets with cash. Few locals used their Octopus cards to get around Hong Kong during the protests, as they feared the authorities would use the central database of Octopus transactions to identify who was where and when. Some Hong Kongers would not even use ATM’s to access cash during the protests, as they wanted to avoid leaving a digital footprint." Prof. Steve Worthington, 23 July 2019 in Bluenotes.

You can click on the image below to read the whole article. It is definitely worth reading it. Bluenotes is, by the way, the ANZ bank blog.

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