What a Cashless Society Means For Your LibertySubmitted by McWilly on Wed, 03/21/2012 - 13:13
CBS News has an article up about Sweden becoming a cashless economy - an interesting development as Sweden was the first European country to introduce bank notes. While the transition to a digital, cashless way of life hasn't been made official there, the story indicates a trend that could easily be adopted throughout Europe and in the U.S. in a short amount of time. I've included some quick excerpts from the CBS article below, then I'll explain why this is a major threat to individual freedom and personal privacy.
In most Swedish cities, public buses don't accept cash; tickets are prepaid or purchased with a cell phone text message. A small but growing number of businesses only take cards, and some bank offices — which make money on electronic transactions — have stopped handling cash altogether.
Oscar Swartz, the founder of Sweden's first Internet provider, Banhof, says a digital economy also raises privacy issues because of the electronic trail of transactions. He supports the idea of phasing out cash, but says other anonymous payment methods need to be introduced instead.
"One should be able to send money and donate money to different organizations without being traced every time," he says.
Mr. Swartz nails down succinctly the issue with electronic currency. That it is infinitely traceable.