USAID Quietly Unveils Plans to Export Ukraine’s Digital Governance Model Around World

Ukraine’s wholesale digitaization of government services predates the war, but in the eternal spirit of never letting a good crisis go to waste and with the financial support of USAID and the EU, it has been significantly expanded since.

One of the more interesting stories to seep out of Davos’ “hive of scum and villainy” (h/t Obi-wan kenobi) last week was an announcement by Samantha Power, the administrator of Washington’s soft power arm, USAID, that Washington is hoping to replicate the “success” of Ukraine’s e-governance app, Diia, in other countries around the world. Despite its newsworthiness, the story was barely reported in the mainstream or financial media. In fact, the only coverage I could find was an article by Axios, whose author interviewed Power on the sidelines of the WEF’s annual shindig.

But first, a promotional video flagged on Twitter by the British campaign group Stop Common Pass:

More from Axios: 

[Samantha] Power views this as part of a broader effort to help democratic reformers around the world deliver for their people, and says countries would be selected accordingly.

“We want to look at the bright spots, at the countries that are committed to transparency and an anti-corruption agenda, that are bucking the global trends,” Power said. She noted that Moldova’s reformist government has already expressed interest in Ukraine’s e-governance approach.

Power also hopes to partner with countries in the global south. Given the current “economic headwinds,” even leaders who are working to clean up corruption and improve governance may struggle to improve the lives of their citizens, she said. An app that allows citizens to file taxes or access birth certificates without waiting in line for hours could be one tangible improvement, she argued.

Kiev already signed a digital trade agreement, or DTA (yes, they do exist), with the UK government in December. That agreement includes a commitment to collaborate on digital identity, as I reported in “Against Backdrop of War, Rolling Blackouts and Internet Outages, Ukraine Is Trying to Digitize Everything“. Now, Ukraine is “willing to share” the approach and technology it has developed for e-governance with other countries. And it will be supported in this endeavor by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

One country that is currently working to replicate Ukraine’s digital ID system is Estonia, which is already one of the world’s most digitized countries. As Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas noted, the move represents a “new chapter” in the two countries’ digital cooperation.


US and EU Funding at Work

Ukraine’s digitization of government services predates the conflict with Russia, but in the eternal spirit of never letting a good crisis go to waste, it has been significantly expanded since the hostilities began. Just as the combat theaters of Iraq and Afghanistan served as testing grounds for the mass harvesting and storage of sensitive biometric data, some of which fell into the hands of the Taliban when the US abandoned Afghanistan, war-torn Ukraine is being used to pilot the rapid construction of an all-encompassing digital governance system.

Despite the fact Ukraine’s electrical grid has been decimated by surgical Russian attacks, resulting in increasingly widespread power outages, its central bank is also chomping at the bit to launch its own digital currency, the so-called e-hyrvnia. At Davos last week, Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov (who is also Deputy Prime Minister as well as a graduate of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders’ program) volunteered to be its first user.

“Two weeks ago, I saw a pilot of the electronic e-hyrvnia in Ukraine,” he said of plans to issue a CBDC in conjuction with San Francisco-based crypto non-profit the Stellar Development Foundation. “I plan on becoming the first test user of the electronic hryvnia and I plan to receive on receiving my salary in e-hryvnia.”

First launched in February 2020 by the Ministry of Digital Transformation, which itself was created in late 2019, the Diia platform is used to grant the public access to most government services  online. In total, it has nine digital credentials: the ID card, the identity provider (IDP) certificate for network access, birth certificate, passport, driving license, tax number, student card, and vehicle registration certificate..

The platform is partly funded by the European Union’s eu4digital initiative, which in its own words “aims to extend the benefits of the European Union’s Digital Single Market to the Eastern Partner States, channelling EU support to develop the potential of the digital economy and society, in order to bring economic growth, generate more jobs, improve people’s lives and businesses.” The EU is also working around the clock to get its own digital identity system, the so-called “eID”, up and running by 2024.

Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation also received seed funding from USAID, to help it launch Diia and bolster its cybersecurity. Then, after the war began, the ministry received a further injection of funds ($8.5 million), to help it expand the app’s services. Now, USAID is pouring an extra $650,000 into Diia, which is admittedly chicken feed. But the initiative will almost certainly be receiving funds from other sources.

USAID’s apparent goal is to export Ukraine’s digital governance model to other countries, in Europe as well as the global south. To kick start the process, USAID’s Administrator Samantha Power and Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation  met in Davos to discuss the idea with a handful of countries and potential private sector partners who could help scale it.

“State in a Smartphone”

The ultimate goal behind Diia — which means “action” in Ukrainian and is short for derzhava i ia – “the state and I” — is to digitize and automate all government services as part of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s “State in a Smartphone” concept.

“For citizens, the government should be just a service – simple, but more notably comprehensible,” Mr. Zelenskyy said at the beginning of the Diia presentation in early 2020. “In general, our goal is to make sure that all relations with the state can be carried out with the help of a regular smartphone and the Internet. In particular, voting. This is our dream, and we will make it real during presidential, parliamentary or local elections. It is a challenge. Ambitious yet achievable.”

And exceptionally dangerous, especially in a country with such a fragile, dysfunctional and corruption-plagued system of governance. As a group of Ukrainian cybersecurity analysts have warned, allowing the Diia app to be used for voting purposes is a disaster waiting to happen. The analysts cite an open letter sent by the American Association of the Advancement of Science to US governors, secretaries of state and electoral boards in April 2020 urging them “to refrain from allowing the use of any internet voting system.”

Signed by US research organizations, academics and globally renowned experts, including Bruce Schneier, a public-interest technologist, Martin Hellman, a cryptologist and mathematician at Stanford, the letter states that at this juncture, “internet voting is not a secure solution for voting in the United States, nor will it be in the foreseeable future. Vote manipulation that could be undetected and numerous security vulnerabilities including potential denial of service attacks, malware intrusions, and mass privacy violations, remain possible in internet voting.”

As the Ukrainian analysts note, only one country in the collective West has actually gone so far as to conduct national elections on-line — Estonia — and that was after 20 years of carefully developing the voting model, under the watchful eye of civil society, political parties and EU representatives:

Along the way, many critical vulnerabilities have been detected in the on-line voting system, and the best experts improve it constantly. It works because the Estonian citizens have impossibly high trust in their Government, and its methodology basis is in stark contrast with that of Diia.

The analysts flag up a whole host of other issues with the Diia app, including major defects with the app architecture; its potential for use in frauds and scams; the lack of an account disabling option; its exclusionary effects (some citizens cannot afford or do not know how to use the Diia app); its vulnerability to hacks and cyber attacks; its dependence on an Internet connection and, of course, a functioning electricity grid (currently not the case in Ukraine, or for the foreseeable future); and the lack of transparency and accountability of the organizations running the app. The app also creates an excessively centralized form of governance as well as an unnatural monopoly.

Digitized, Privatized, Automated and Outsourced

The Zelenskyy government’s goal is to create a digital ID system that within three years would make Ukraine the most “convenient” State in the world by operating like a digital service provider, as Fedorov told participants of the 2021 edition of the WEF’s Young Global Leaders program, of which he is an alum. “We are shaping a vision of a post-war Government,” he said. And in that vision, government will be digitized, privatized, automated and outsourced:

The Government needs to become as flexible and mobile as an IT company, to automate all functions and services, significantly change the structure, reduce 60% of officials, introduce large-scale privatization and outsourcing of government functions. Even in the customs. Only such a Government will be able to bring about quick and bold reforms to rebuild the country and ensure rapid development.

That rapid development will apparently be achieved through a raft of public-private partnerships, for which the World Economic Forum is the world’s leading matchmaker. Just this week, Zelenskyy heaped thanks and praise on US corporations, including Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, JP Morgan, Westinghouse and Starlink, for investing in Ukraine, where “we are,” he said, “defending freedom and property.” At the same time, his government is flogging the country’s most valuable property to foreign companies and investors, mainly from the US and Europe, for cents on the dollar.

The brief speech reads like an ode to weapons, war and Wall Street. Bearing the title, “After the End of the War, American Business Can Become a Locomotive of Global Economic Growth,” it included the following two paragraphs:

We have already managed to attract attention and have cooperation with such giants of the international financial and investment world as Black Rock, J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs. Such American brands as Starlink or Westinghouse have already become part of our, Ukrainian, way. Your brilliant defense systems – such as HIMARS or Bradleys – are already uniting our history of freedom with your enterprises. We are waiting for Patriots. We are looking closely at Abrams…

And everyone can become a big business by working with Ukraine. In all sectors – from weapons and defense to construction, from communications to agriculture, from transport to IT, from banks to medicine.

In other words, another 21st century smash-‘n’-grab Marshall Plan is in the offing. Through the arming and eventual “reconstruction” (ha!) of Ukraine, untold billions of dollars, euros and pounds will, to paraphrase Julian Assange, be “washed out” of the tax bases of the United States, Europe and the UK and back into the hands of the transnational security elite.

Lest we forget (as most policy- and opinion-makers in the West seem to have conveniently done), Ukraine was openly talked about as one of the most corrupt countries in Europe before the outbreak of war. In Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index, Ukraine ranked as the second most corrupt in Europe, after Russia. In September 2021, just five months before hostilities commenced, the EU’s Court of Auditors concluded that grand corruption and state capture was still widespread in Ukraine, despite all the billions of aid ploughed into the country:

Grand corruption and state capture are endemic in Ukraine; as well as hindering competition and growth, they also harm the democratic process. Tens of billions of euros are lost annually as a result of corruption.

Zelenskyy himself was caught hiding large chunks of his own wealth in offshore accounts in the Pandora Papers scandal.

Of course, the endemic corruption hasn’t gone away. In this past week alone, five regional governors, four deputy ministers, two heads of a government agency, the deputy head of the presidential administration and the deputy attorney general resigned (or were fired, depending on which source you read) following allegations of rampant bribery and misappropriations of public funds. Perhaps most damning of all, officials at the Ministry of Defense are accused of buying food for the troops at massively inflated prices and then pocketing the difference.

Despite all of this, Zelenskyy’s government is receiving more money in military aid than ever before. At the same time, its deeply flawed system of digital governance is being brandied about by USAID as a template model for other governments to follow. As even the article in Axios notes, exporting the Diia app around the world raises potential security and privacy concerns:

It’s not hard to envision a government using such an app to track a citizen’s movements and activities, or manipulating the provision of government services via the app for political gain.

There are, of course, plenty of other concerns, including data protection, system fragility and the myriad threats digital identity, surveillance and payments systems poses to basic human rights and freedoms. Last June, NYU School of Law’s Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) warned that investing in digital identity systems risks “paving a digital road to hell”.

In her interview with Axios, Samantha Power batted away these concerns. While conceding that some of the issues have not been thought through yet and emphasising the need to approach the project with “eyes open on the risks inherent in technology and governance,” she believes that replicating the Diia model will be a net overall benefit for services, economic growth and government transparency in other US client states.

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  1. flora

    Oh boy. Not just bureaucracy, now digital bureaucracy, bureaucracy coded AI. Kafka’s nightmare. / oy.

    1. Brian F

      Or another humiliating defeat for US. Neocons with Z and Crew packing up cash in their expensive SUVs for a run to the border of Poland? There is no economic model that will work in Western Ukraine. It’s the east and south that have 80 percent of GDP? So the other 20 is grift off the productive assets. My bet is always a neocon failure. What have they ever achieved long term?

    2. Rip Van Winkle

      Did Bill Gates invent a computer is his garage at 9 years old or become a Monopoly champion?

    1. Randall Flagg

      Beyond the power going out, and never mind the constant attacks by hackers, are the server farms that all this info is stored in able to survive a few direct hits from artillery or larger attacks? Geez, how quickly can a government be brought to it’s knees?

    2. Diogenes

      Seems to me that working too well would be a bigger concern than being vulnerable to failure.

      This would be another significant step away from the Enlightenment values underpinning the framing of the U.S. Constitution (for all its many faults), such as the idea that the government ought not be looking into the lives of its citizens absent a very good reason (probable cause and a warrant, for example.)

      The legal and political protections against such abuses are, to be charitable, unreliable. (Go look at federal prosecutor’s conviction rates, or FISA courts’ percentage of warrant requests granted.) But at least there historically were the practical protections of plain old resource limitations — there weren’t enough dollars, or bodies, or hours in the day to surveil everything — limitations which technologies like this go to decimate.

      If the history of empires is any guide, dirty shit like this tried out “on the road” ultimately comes home.

      1. Anon

        People don’t understand, core ‘Western’ values, if those are generously assumed inspired by Rousseau and Smith, are entirely dependent on privacy. Democracy and competition are impossible without it.

      1. Anon

        If it only exists on a screen, is it even there? That is to say, if governance becomes automated, will there be a government, or just a software layer? ‘Centralization’ is an understatement.

    3. digi_owl

      Or you are deliberately locked out, as seen in Canada recently.

      While i am no fan of the kind of people that was involved in that, it still set a nasty precedent that they well use in retaliation should they gain power some time in the future.

      This kind of shoot from the hip short term political thinking is really starting to get worrying.

  2. Amfortas the hippie

    yeah, no.
    i already put my fone in a metal coffee can when obtaining weed.
    and what about the numerous reports and studies regarding the collapse of trust in just about every institution imaginable?
    utter lack of trust, so lets add a digital interface that an ordinary person regards as a black box of magic(i fer sure dont know how my fone works,lol…)

    that said…i recently got a letter from the texas food stamp people, addressed to my late wife, informing me that the P-EBT Card(which i didnt know we had) now had almost $400 on it.
    yesterday,took me 2 hours of either waiting on the fone, waiting by the fone or navigating a terribly designed fone menu tree(the number on the card has 19 digits, ffs) to figure out what to do about that almost $400 bucks.
    turns out i can use that money…but dernit…does it hafta be so difficult?
    and this wasn’t even 211…which is Texas’ preferred phone number for all interactions between the state and the poors…which, based on experience, would have taken even longer to navigate.

    but whatever, lets be ukraine.
    glad i have a closet full of black pepper and bic lighters for use as currency.

    1. Bsn

      “I already put my phone in a metal coffee can when obtaining weed.” Coolio. I remember when we would sell weed in the day, we used small cans. Then when baggies were invented, we’d sell the ounces in baggies but we still called them “cans”. I’ve found the best way to protect yourself from your phone is not to have one, but that’s just me.

    2. cocomaan

      I thought I was the only insane person who had a bunch of bic lighters in reserve for use in barter!

      1. Wukchumni

        I was on a long backpack trip with a friend 20 years ago who had recently returned from 6 months in Nepal, and his prized possession was a Bic lighter with 3 lead plugs in it, which had been refilled 3 times by enterprising Nepalese who drilled a hole in it and with a syringe filled it back up with gas and then put the lead plug in, all for about 20¢.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            may i recommend zipoo?
            and the supplies.
            fluid and flints.
            and their lifetime guarantee is for reals…ive sent all mine in multiple times.
            generally with a 20 and a note that its for beer/

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              for personal use, i mean.
              bics are for trade
              and all that black pepper and salt and such.(keeps forever)
              and then theres all the voluminous erudition…about numerous practical things/phronesis….
              reckon its good to keep me around.

      2. digi_owl

        Some years back there was this odd story about people stealing detergent or something to use as payment for drugs etc.

        Yeah, physical barter on the down low and honor bound debt for the daily stuff will come back with a vengeance.

        Some time back the banks had a issue with the payment terminal network, and the local merchant had to start writing down names and sums. For later payment when the terminals worked again. Luckily this household is a bit behind the times, so we still carried cash.

        1. Rip Van Winkle

          Yes, personally witnessed –

          Jugs of Tide going out the door at Walgreens across from Willis Tower in Chicago, every damned day. Routine.

          100% off discount, no coupons required.

      1. jsn

        Right, and after the Russians destroy the active military in Ukraine, when geriatrics don’t show up when drafted for the war on AMLO, you can just cut off their access to money until the do, or starve! It’s a win either way!

        Of course, when anyone does anything not approved by the official good thinkers, they’ll get the same treatment: absolute freedom to do as you’re told or die.

  3. .Tom

    I’ve been wondering what western public and private banks are getting in collateral for their loans. Software licensing?

    I rather doubt the software is easy to reuse in other countries or that it was designed for such reuse. Imagine Air France trying to adopt the custom in-house software of Southwest Airlines but for a national bureaucracy rather than an airline. Maybe that’s why this announcement hasn’t been reported much, the idea came up in some Davos meeting and Sam Powers thought, “Yes, I like it. I can get myself another presser out of this.”

    1. hunkerdown

      Air France would simply have to do business in a way more compatible with Southwest’s IT system. I think that new, standardized patterns of state-subject interaction are tacit requirements and deliverables for these rule-by-app proposals. No doubt captive propaganda is on someone’s list.

  4. lyman alpha blob

    So the government needs to be as flexible and mobile as an IT company, does it?

    Does that mean it will take at least a year to install any new system and then when it’s turned on, it won’t work properly, nobody will completely understand it, it will be worse than what it’s replacing, and every time you need to use it your soul will get crushed just a little bit more?

    Really don’t understand why we continue to fetishize the app monkeys. They’ll pry my 50+ year old paper social security card from my cold dead hands. Digital is unreliable and temporary, analog is forever!

  5. Brooklin Bridge

    Come on in, the water’s fine.

    After reading this, Yve’s sometimes phrase, “Kill me now,” is flashing before my eyes. Climate change to the rescue? Get me my ten gallon hat, I want to ride the bomb? Then again, coming from Ukraine, a veritable study in ethical behavior and non corruption,…what’s not to like?

  6. re silc

    I spent 25 years with USAID. Look at the state of affairs in USA USA . We are going to promote this exceptional model worldwide????? But now with e-tech/admin??? Howz that working at your dmv? Please also remember USAID (and Harvard) was the cause of the creation and generation of fire sale assets to Russian oligarchs in the 1990s. Sam Powers is a model of unlimited self promotion and career scams. Seems to work great at Lagos on the Potomac. On to SecState.

    1. ambrit

      When it comes to e-tech anything, I like to point to the roll out of “Obamacare,” er, “Romneycare,” er, sorry, “Heritage Foundation Care.”

    2. Carolinian

      Back during Reagan times there was a feeling among some of us that the Republicans liked to do overseas what they would do in this country if they could get away with it. Call it practice.

      In that era the Dems objected and even held Iran/Contra hearings. Millions of bribes later they’ve seen the light and have joined the mad scientist band wagon. The Russians like to call Ukraine “country 404”–an appropriate computer analogy given the above–but we were first with the “reinventing government” gig and it was Clinton/Gore who were leading the charge.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        dont have a link, because im pretty drunk….see: us army field manual for counterinsurgency…esp from the 80’s
        (my copy is from 85, and its quite enlightening given whats happened to us since…ie: we are he insurgency//////” we’re all indians, now”-Russel Means)

  7. cnchal

    Every day I thank my lucky stars we never had children.

    It would have been impossible to protect them from the human Skinner Box the psychopaths in charge have created.

    1. semper loquitur

      Some good friends of ours are pregnant. I’ve learned to bite my tongue and enjoy the happiness while it lasts. My niece informed my sister she isn’t having children, which I applauded. So it goes.

  8. ambrit

    A quibble. The phrase “…a hive of scum and villainy..” is from the lips of Obi Wan Kenobi, (as played by the Terran human actor Alec Guinness in the acclaimed biographic/historical film “Star Wars.”)

  9. wendigo

    “State in a smartphone”.

    Sure would make it easier to locate and “help” Ukrainians who have left the Ukraine to return back to Ukraine to fight in the war.

    They may not have electricity or running water but “State and services are running well also during war”.

    1. semper loquitur

      Yeah, that last line caught my eye as well. Let’s see how long things keep humming along when the grid collapses and they have to parley with Russia for new parts. It would make an interesting study to see what kinds of local currencies and bartering systems pop up when everyone’s mobile darkens….

      1. digi_owl

        That is the “fun” part.

        While the wired telephone network was largely decentralized (as the local exchange had power you could use it, and it could be powered by a bank of lead acid batteries if need be), the mobile phone network relies on a set of core servers to track what cell each phone is connected to at any one time.

        Knock them server, or their connection to the rest of the network, offline and the whole thing stops working.

        Human existence has become very brittle, and this was highlighted by the likes of James Burke (Connections on BBC) back in the 1970s.

        1. Rolf

          Human existence has become very brittle, and this was highlighted by the likes of James Burke (Connections on BBC) back in the 1970s.

          Absolutely terrific series, that. Your mention brought back some nice memories, thanks digi_owl :-)

          1. digi_owl

            It helps that Burke has a flare for deadpan understatements and self-deprecating humor.

            Never mind being willing to suffer for the art. Apparently that final scene of the last episode of the original series needed to go right on first take, and so he ended up recording it with one leg in an ant hill!

  10. Watt4Bob

    Ministry of Digital Transformation

    Orwellian overtones much?

    Digital slave-market among other evils I’m sure, wage arbitrage at the touch of a button.

    What could go wrong?

    Everything at once.

  11. EricT

    I recall that one of the underlying theories the Reagan Republicans was that government provided services. And the one who receives the service should be paying for the cost. And rich people, didn’t need these services, so should be excluded from paying for them. Hence lower taxes. They just can’t stop.

  12. Bart Hansen

    The intro notes that this scheme predates the war, but does it predate the 2014 coup?

    Power saw a great chance to take advantage of a country in decline as model for other poor countries. Could it really be to aid in exploiting said countries?

  13. The Rev Kev

    Good post here, Nick. Anyway, the whole thing seems crazy. They are testing this system in the most corrupt country in Europe, they have no idea of the true population of the Ukraine and that was even before the war began, and because of the war the power is now only intermittent – and now they want to roll this out to other countries? Here is the first scenario that comes to mind. So you live in a country that implements this program but oh no, you just had a natural disaster that has knocked out the power in your area. Maybe a flood or a fire or maybe some Richard Cranium decided to shoot up the local electrical transmission gear. No problem, you say. I will just log onto my government services platform for aid and help – only to see no signal as the internet still happens to need electricity at the moment to run. And then there are hackers, bureaucrats stuffing up the implementation, software updates that break the platform but do I need to go on? But I do wonder if it was Obama that assigned Samantha Power to take point on this program here.

    1. Mikel

      “They are testing this system in the most corrupt country in Europe…”

      Best kind of place for a rehearsal of a crime.

    2. albrt

      Not just corrupt, but the two countries most interested in this approach (Ukraine and Estonia) are essentially apartheid states faced with the interesting technical problem that the disfavored class of people (ethnic Russians) can’t easily be sorted out by sight. Digital ID solves the problem.

      Lots of other handy sorting applications once you start thinking in those terms.

    3. digi_owl

      Shock doctrine is needed to get the mind to even consider it a valid plan of action.

      Stress and exhaustion is how you get someone to accept the impossible.

    4. playon

      “We want to look at the bright spots, at the countries that are committed to transparency and an anti-corruption agenda, that are bucking the global trends,” Power said.

      When I read this sentence my eyes rolled. They are testing this on the most corrupt country on the planet, which means it has nothing to do with corruption.

  14. polar donkey

    Samantha Powers and Ukraine. The anti-reese peanut butter cup. Two bad things that go worse together.

  15. Synoia

    The IRS system is batch system from the 1960s,

    It is cumbersome, complex, hard and expensive to change.

    Change and maintenance of the Cobol code is difficult because Cobol is rarely included in Icurrent IT classes.

    Auditing old code is very hard, because thhe auditor mustt
    understand what the programmer was thinkiing.

    Humans can learn change. Code must be written and documented, and the documentation kept up to date and the programming language kept current.

    Old code is expensive to change. Few programmers want to work on obsolete code because it distroyes future job prospects.

    1. flora

      NC has covered the problems in large banks that attempt merging older legacy systems with newly purchased banks’ computer systems. Also the problems with “simply” upgrading older legacy Cobol systems (never mind assembler language) with newer operating systems. (Assuming there are still bankers who know what the task computer process does, how it does that task, and how that task fits into the bank’s entire accounting and balancing processes.)

      1. digi_owl

        This is why IBM is still around. Because their whole business revolves around getting modern hardware to run old software. This starting with when they made the system/360 a software platform detached from the hardware.

        And we are seeing Microsoft take the same tack with their Azure cloud services, that can basically run an Windows office network.

    2. digi_owl

      Frankly the IRS computer code can’t be any better than the tax code it is meant to model. And as i understand it, the US tax code is a deliberate mess of trap doors and exceptions. This to allow the wealthy to avoid paying taxes without breaking any laws doing so.

  16. britzklieg

    Not much talk about the crypto – Stellar lumens – that hides behind the scheme, given the “crypto is terrorism” narrative which is tossed about arbitrarily depending on cui bono.

  17. Synoia

    As an after thought: In what languages is the documentation of this system, and who has the responsibility to keep the documentation up to date?

  18. Susan the other

    This really seems beyond absurd. Government services are not even defined. Will the Justice Department also be digitized? Locally will the fire department and the police be digitized? Will access to emergency care be digitized? How about essential public utilities? The definition for idiocy is aggressive stupidity. We need a good word for extreme absurdity. Maybe we could just call it Samantha.

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