Some of the longest standing fears have been based around the idea that once cash is fully banned, the last remaining vestiges of freedom will go with it.

While that remains to be seen in total, it is clear that a digital matrix of computer-based spending, surveillance and control is taking over more and more of our lives.

Now that system wants to scan your iris and even talk with your smartphone in order to allow you to access your own hard-earned money.

Sadly, this eerie new world order scenario is closer to reality than ever before.

While cash will still be around for now, it is about to become more tightly controlled than ever before. Most banks are now limiting withdraws and flagging customers with large cash requests as suspicious to law enforcement or federal agencies.

Meanwhile, the next generation of ATMs – while still spitting out bills – will focus more on technological verification of patrons, and even biometric verification.

With growing concerns over digital security and authentication, privacy is all but dead.

NBC News reports on the surprising changes that could be fast approaching the cash machine you frequent around the corner or down the street:

No card reader, no PIN pad, no touch-screen display — how you bank at your ATM could drastically change in the not-so-distant future. Citigroup is testing an automated teller machine made by Canton, Ohio-based Diebold that relies on your smartphone and perhaps an eye scan to dispense your cash.

Diebold's so-called "Irving" system works like this: Let's say you want to get $100 from your ATM. Instead of taking your bank card with you, you schedule your withdrawal ahead of time on your phone via your bank's mobile app. When you walk up to the screenless machine, it identifies you in one of several ways: Near Field Communication (NFC, the same type of technology used in Apple Pay's mobile payment service), QR Code (for Quick Response Code, a machine-readable bar code that's been used extensively in Japan) or biometrics (scanning your iris, a technique that's considered far more fail-safe than fingerprints as a form of ID).The machine then spits out the cash and you go on your merry way.

Diebold said the entire transaction could be completed in less than 10 seconds. The new system is more secure than traditional ATMs, in part because you wouldn't need a card and wouldn't have to punch in a PIN, the company said.

[…]

"Our latest concepts embody a new era of banking and put the user experience at the top of the pyramid to connect consumers with their money when and how they see fit," Frank Natoli, Diebold executive vice president, self-service technology, said in a press release.

While Diebold has been in the ATM machine business for many years, it is hardly reassuring that the big banks will be teaming up with the company know for its voting fraud scandals to keep "your" money secure from meddling. What could possibly go wrong?

 

Moreover, the more entangled and dependent our system of commerce becomes on technology, the worse it will be if/when the grid collapses. While it is already true that ATMs won't be available in the event of a massive power outage, the requirement for not only ATMs, but smart phones and other devices to all work seems to invite trouble and further complications.

ATMs already represent sharp fees and tight control of cash – the price is high and the amount per day is strictly limited – though its distribution happens at a nearly infinite number of points. Banks see cash as a problem because it can be freely exchanged on the black and grey markets, stuffed under the mattress and used without direct surveillance. Moreover, cash is an instrument that allows customers to circumvent their institution and fees, and keeps them from leveraging that balance many times over.

This new era may have many conveniences, but the near-total electronic control of currency will put a handful of institutions in control of the economy, and will make history as the most invasive and authoritarian form of money ever created. Already, things are only shades away from the Mark of the Beast system so many have warned against and watched for… the masses will be somewhere between cogs in the machine and slaves to the system.

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