by Jeremy Loffredo and Max Blumenthal at The Grayzone
While vaccine passports have been marketed as a boon to public health, promising safety, privacy, and convenience for those who have been vaccinated against Covid-19, the pivotal role a shadowy military-intelligence organization is playing in the push to implement the system in digital form has raised serious civil liberties concerns.
Known as MITRE, the organization is a non-profit corporation led almost entirely by military-intelligence professionals and sustained by sizable contracts with the Department of Defense, FBI, and national security sector.
The effort “to expand QR code vaccine passports beyond states like California and New York” now revolves around a public-private partnership known as the Vaccine Credential Initiative (VCI). And the VCI has reserved an instrumental role in its coalition for MITRE.
Described by Forbes as a “cloak and dagger [research and development] shop” that is “the most important organization you’ve never heard of,” MITRE has developed some of the most invasive surveillance technology in use by US spy agencies today. Among its most novel products is a system built for the FBI which captures individuals’ fingerprints from images posted on social media sites.
MITRE’s own COVID-19 umbrella coalition includes In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the Central Intelligence Agency, and Palantir, a scandal-stained private spying firm.
Elizabeth Renieris, the founding director of Notre Dame and IBM’s technology ethics lab, has warned that “as dominant technology and surveillance companies” like MITRE “pursue new revenue streams in healthcare and financial services…privately owned and operated ID systems with profit-maximizing business models threaten the privacy, security, and other fundamental rights of individuals and communities.”
Indeed, the involvement of the military-intelligence apparatus in the development of a digital vaccine passport system is yet another indication that behind the guise of public health concerns, the US surveillance state could be due to enhance its control over an increasingly restive population…Continue Reading